Sunday, 28 April 2013

Beauty is... the eye of the beholder.

A million things could be done with this video - bottom line is: It should be watched.

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not 
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked…."
Baz Luhrmann, "Wear sunscreen"

Love to all,

Friday, 26 April 2013

When less is more

I'm one of those busy people wishing the day was longer, even though I realize it would only make my life even busier. Here's a trick I could try:

Sometimes, less really is more.
Love to all,

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

On Antennae and Token Economy

My last post was basically a link to a documentary. If you haven't seen it yet and there's a possibility for you to have to deal with ADHD at some point of your life or work, it's time you do it. But that's not the tip I'd like to disseminate with this post. The film is a wonderful insight into what ADHD is. You won't learn many tips from it and chances are you won't be taking notes while you watch. But that one tip I've picked up is so simple anybody can do it and it has an incredible change potential.

The tip is called "token economy" and it comes up around the 45th minute of the documentary. "Token economy" has roots in what psychologists call conditioning and it's a form of immediate positive reinforcement of desirable behavior or in plain words: whenever a student does something well they get an object which has no value unto itself, but represents a currency through which a reward is attained. So, if you want a student who cannot keep quiet to learn how to raise their hand and wait for their turn, whenever they quietly raise their hand you give them a token, whenever they remain quiet with their hand up while you're speaking to another student they get a token, whenever they give a relevant answer after you call their name they get a token. The student receives a token for everything they do well, as small as it is, and they MUST receive a token immediately.

Think well before you use anything edible for a token.
There's a possibility they might disappear before being counted.

Tokens can be anything: marbles, stars, stamps, bottle caps, pencils, stones, sequins, buttons, pieces of cloth/string, paperclips, stickers, rubber bands, anything made of cardboard (stars, suns, flowers, birds, lions, faeries...)... I think you get the point. The aim is for the student to collect as many as possible in a given period of time - e.g. a lesson. I repeat - they MUST receive a token for EVERYTHING they do well, as small as it is, IMMEDIATELY. And a deal must be made: 

If the student collects X tokens, the teacher will ________ .

This is where you need to think about your student and figure out what is important to them. If nothing comes to mind do what I did - Ask them "Who should I tell when you're being good?". Chances are they know exactly who you should call, so follow through. You MUST FOLLOW THROUGH. 

But be flexible the first time you start doing this. I tried the recipe from the documentary and set an objective of 50 tokens in a 45-minute lesson. The student only collected 35, but behavior change was so dramatic, I followed through with the deal nonetheless. As I said, smiles all around ensued. 

The trick is in the fact that tokens focus us, teachers, students and parents on students' strengths and abilities and help us overcome the difficult bits and reduce difficulties into bits, wherever and whenever possible. And as I said, smiles all around ensue.

I'll confess having reservations about all of this at first, but I decided to give it a go because something had to be done. It did not magically change everything for the better, nor did it magically cure ADHD, but it gave a strong positive note to my lessons.

So be brave and persist.

Finally, keep your antennae on alert whatever you do, because you never know when and where you might come across a brilliant idea. 

When you get one, pass it on.

Love to all,

For those interested in research on token economy, click on the titles to go visit:
Wikipedia - to start off.
R.P. Liberman: The token economy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2000
G. LeBlanc: Enhancing intrinsic motivation through the use of a token economy. Essays in Education, 2004, 11.
K. Zlomke & L. Zlomke: Token economy plus self-monitoring to reduce disruptive classroom behaviors. The Behavior Analyst Today, 2003, 4, 177-182.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Astounding Details and Heartbreaking Difficulties

48 minutes and 56 seconds of pure food for thought in the shape of a BBC documentary. It's not about preaching or giving advice (although one or two at the end will maybe come in handy), it's a snapshot of what living with ADHD means.


Love to all,