Friday, September 6, 2019

Children learn Essay Example for Free

Children learn Essay The Guidance for the Foundation Stage Curriculum (2001) suggests that an appropriate curriculum for young children is a play-based curriculum, offering children a choice of play based activities and experiences. Siraj-Blatchford and Clarke (2000) agree that play has been well documented as a means by which young children learn.  Play is highly valued in the Early Years for its ability to stimulate and integrate a wide range of childrens intellectual, physical, cultural, social and creative abilities. (Siraj-Blatchford and Clarke 2000, p.76) However, unstructured play, in its purest sense, may cause a number of problems when providing suitable provision for children demonstrating hyperactive, impulsive or inattentive behaviour due to lack of structure and continual distraction. Kewley (1999,p.151) would agree when stating,   Unstructured situations such as playtime often cause problems for children with ADHDbecause of the over-reaction to the stimulus and their impulsive behaviour. Ballard (1997) defines an inclusive setting as one where differentness is an ordinary part of human experience. Indeed, differentiation is the key to effective teaching and learning. However, problems arise when the whole structure of the curriculum is inappropriate for the needs of a particular child. Cooper (1999) would agree that it is invaluable for the practitioner to be aware of the specific circumstances in which individual children perform best in order to plan for the learning needs of these children and suggests that some aspects of an Early Years curriculum may aggravate symptoms of ADHD when stating, Children with ADHD can become overwhelmed by the massive over stimulation they experience in a group situation and through free-play activity. (Cooper 1999, p.144)  In addition,  Barrow (in: Merton 1998) and Toothhill and Spalding (in: Sefton 2000) also found that children with ADHD responded better in highly structured lessons than less organised ones.  Children with ADHD are often hypersensitive to distraction. It is important, therefore, to ensure that they are seated in a place that is relatively free from distraction. (Cooper 1999, p.146) Thus, making the task of suitable inclusive provision difficult for practitioners in Early Years settings. However, many opportunities for structured, adult-directed play do exist within the Early Years. (Siraj-Blatchford and Clarke 2000) Games such as those with rules, card games, matching games, and outdoor games with balls all provide opportunities for adult-directed play and provide the child with instructions and guidance for playing the game, rules of turn taking and developing new information. In addition a play-based curriculum offers opportunities for high levels of adult support and encouragement and a kinaesthetic based approach to learning, which is a preferred style of learning for many children with ADHD. Kewley (1999,p.146) concurs, stating, Children with ADHD tend to be intuitive and need a practical approach to learning rather than a highly theoretical approach.  Research suggests however, that a high number of children with ADHD are not acknowledged as having SEN and instead their inappropriate behaviour highlighted as unsuitable candidates for mainstream settings. Hayden (1997) suggests that this attitude does not improve as the children enter formal education. Hayden researched children who had been excluded from primary school and found that children with ADHD are more likely that most to be excluded from school for behavioural reasons. This does appear at first glance to be surprising, when considering the evidence to suggest that a structured environment is more appropriate for a child with ADHD. Cooper (2005) offers an explanation for this however, and suggests that when considering the constructions of ADHD that, it is influenced by both biology and the social environment. Cooper infers that school plays a major part in the process of social constructions and indicates that children with ADHD are expected to conform to an unsuitable and ridged social framework and inappropriate curriculum when stating, Pupils from an early age are expected to internalise and behave in accordance with a set of rules that derive from constraints imposed by a teacher-centred, curriculum-focused method of teaching pupils in age related groups. (Cooper 2005,p.128)  Cooper also suggests that inappropriate teacher/child ratios may create social disorder problems that are met by a set of lineal rules, designed to regulate peer interaction and movement around school. Concluding that the majority of problems arise from an externally imposed age determined curricula as apposed to a negotiated curriculum. These findings are alarming when considering recent developments, legislation and guidance relating to children with SEN and may indicate that the behaviour aspect of children with ADHD is being used as a scapegoat strategy for settings who are not meeting the needs of these children.  When examining the issues surrounding ADHD it is clear that successful inclusion both in the Early Years and Primary school settings is problematic. On the one hand a play-based curriculum is the most suitable form of learning for the majority of young children and is endorsed in Early Years Settings, whilst on the other the symptoms that children with ADHD display suggest that such a curriculum would exasperate these symptoms. However, as previously discussed, some aspects of a play-based curriculum are preferable to the more formal approach of primary school. The PLA (2001) suggest once children have been admitted to the setting, an environment that is created should be one that encourages all children to flourish. Furthermore, Kewley (2001, p6) states the inclusion of children with ADHD is a moral imperative, however, Farrell and Polat (2003) argue that the inclusion of children with EBD has the potential to cause barriers to the government implementation of their policy of social inclusion. This would suggest that although differing levels of ability can be quiet easily catered for, behavioural and emotional differences are not as easily accommodated in educational settings. Visser and Stokes (2003) found that many people agreed with the inclusion of children with SEN, however when it came to children with EBD they were often denied inclusion due to their SEN. This supports the research undertaken by Hayden (mentioned previously) that children with ADHD are excluded from primary school due to behavioural reasons. The DfES (2006, p.1) suggest that children with ADHD can have an overwhelming affect in the setting when stating, pupils with ADHD present challenges for teachers, both in effective behaviour management and in keeping them focused on the task in hand. [online]  Teachers may feel threatened by having to deal with a child with ADHD, particularly if they have no training in the area and lack confidence, in addition to having to give instruction to a further 30 children or more. The parents of other children may feel that the attention has been drawn away from their children as more time needs to be spent dealing with disruptive outbursts and one to one tuition. All these factors effect the successful inclusion of children with ADHD. Swinson, Wolf and Meling however, disagree that these childrens needs would be addressed more effectively in special schools and conclude that there is much evidence of mainstream schools successfully including children with EBD and there was no evidence to suggest children with EBD benefit from special school. Rose (2002) found that teachers felt they could successfully include children with EBD, but only with additional classroom support. This may suggest a lack of confidence in their ability to meet the needs of children with ADHD in their care. Swinson, Wolf and Meling (2002) suggest that this view is not uncommon, they found that many teachers felt they were not sufficiently trained to meet the needs of inclusion. Another reason that teachers insist on additional classroom support may be due to the time and attention children with ADHD need. Newelle (2001) agree that children with EBD take up a lot of time and resources. All of the barriers above are not isolated to ADHD or indeed EBD they are general inclusion issues that have been successfully addressed throughout a majority of mainstream settings, particularly Early years settings. Albeit ADHD may manifest itself in differing ways and appear to centre around continuous, disruptive behaviour, for some leading to exclusion, however, all children with SEN should have their needs met and advice given by the DfES (2000) should apply to all children when stating,  Children with special educational needs all have learning difficulties that make it harder for them to learn than most children at the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to children of the same age [online] According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) [online], ADHD can have long term effects on the childs ability to make friends and over time these children may develop emotional problems such as poor self-esteem and depression if the childs needs are not met. McEwan (1998) identifies emotional reactivity and conduct problems, which include symptoms such as a shot fuse due to getting easily frustrated, overreacting to things that happen, defiant behaviour, verbal hostility and angry outbursts. Fletcher-Campbell (2001) looks at the problems of children with EBD and suggests that these children alienate themselves from their peers, due to their behaviour. Thus, Some manifestations of the disorder tend to isolate children with ADHD from their peers, who will sometimes react with hostility to impulsive and hyperactive behaviour. This can result in long term difficulties in relation to other individuals and developing and sustaining relationships and the emotional problems that follow often exacerbate the struggle to learn. (Question Publishing 2003) [online] Effects of inattention and impulsivity causes children problems with turn taking and this suggests they often interrupt when others are talking or playing. (Cooper and ORegan (2001) In addition McEwan (1998) argues that children with ADHD can often be selfish and self-centred, which means they are likely to find it hard to make friends and build relationships. They are often unaware of social cues and do not worry about the consequences of their behaviour.

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