Need advices on helping 5-year old very hyper ESL student

Discussion in 'ESL/ELL' started by anna9868, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jan 16, 2016

    I work as an ESL assistant. I have a lesson twice a week with this K girl. One day alone, one day with another boy from her classroom (they get different hours for ESL help)
    She is an extremely bright girl, from Pakistan. She obviously has a bad case of ADHD (not diagnosed). Everything gets her distracted. We already changed location where we have our lesson, I try to bring as little materials with me as possible not to get her distracted. She still gets very distracted! It comes from inside of her. She is too curious. She is a tough nut!

    It's hard to get her to talk.

    However, the biggest challenge I have with her is the same problem I had with my son when he was her age, which caused me to doubt myself as a mother, as a teacher, you name it. Hey, it came back now, and this time around I'm hoping to learn how to get better at it!

    How do I describe it! Defiance? I don't like to use this word
    If you don't delve deep into this problem, all it looks like is a child refusing to do what you ask. Or, does the opposite of what you ask.

    However, I know by now what she girl knows, what her strength are. When I ask her to point to a picture of a fox in the picture book that we are reading, she looks at me with this miscieveous sparkle in her eyes, as if she's saying to herself: "let's play! you want me to show you the fox. I don't want to show it. Let's see who wins!" And so, we begin the game. I would ask her in a stern tone of voice, in a soft, in a playful...

    Sometime she shows or does what I ask her, however, I'm never sure when or if that would happen. Sometimes, it happens the first time I ask. Sometimes on the 4th time. Sometimes, doesn't happen at all.

    I wish I knew of some techniques to try out with her to hopefully get better results.
     
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  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Cohort

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    Jan 16, 2016

    I'm of the school of thought that ADHD is a difference rather than a disability. Although ADHD children do need to learn to adjust to current modern-day societal expectations, there are plusses to the brain configuration of an ADHD person.

    From what is above, I thought of several other possible explanations. She is in a new land with strange customs and a strange language. This could be her brain's mechanism for adjusting. Another thought I had, after having read I Am Malala (a very interesting book about life in Pakistan), I wonder if experiences there or experiences in moving to America could have molded her brain in such a way that this is how she responds to educational or environmental stimulation. A third thought that I had, you mentioned that she seems to have many educational advantages, perhaps this is how her brain approaches environmental experiences, since some students have unique ways of learning, (Albert Einstein being a famous example).

    It sounds like she is falling into a pattern of behavior, which is a learned pattern, and so is continuing it. A couple of suggestions I've read, to avoid a power struggle; reword the question into a choice, such as "Would you like to point to the fox or the turtle?" It's important to establish consistencies within your meetings with the student, so that she becomes adjusted to the routine; a great example of this is Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, where Mr. Rogers followed a routine each day, even though each day was a new lesson, and each day had a few surprises integrated into the routine. If possible, I would try adding more student input to the lesson, also. It gives her a chance to have some control, kind of like her saying to her brain, "OK, brain, this is what I want to learn right now;" but it also can provide input to the teacher as to what direction to go in. I've also read that stubbornness at this age is best confronted when the child calms down, although, of course, that's not always possible. But if there is a chance to wait until any signs of lower brain frustration ends, then it's easier to negotiate with the student's upper brain.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Jan 17, 2016

    How long has she been in this country? How much English is she using, what language is being spoken at home, is she literate in her L1? The answers to theses questions should give you some idea of where she is as an ELL. If not very talkative, she could still be in the quiet period, where ELLs are like sponges - taking everything in, but not producing much in the L2. I would be slow to classify her as ADHD in your mind without having more information about where she is in language acquisition.
     
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  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2016

    Be careful with 'diagnosing' a child's behaviors. The picture book pointing story you told doesn't seem defiant or 'hyper' to me, but more a child who is trying to engage when she has no other way of communicating. Understand that this child came from a very different type of culture and is most likely experiencing some levels of stress and a host of different feelings (which can manifest in different ways) Ask the teacher for whom you are aiding for some possible strategies to use with this child.
     
  6. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2016

    I have ADHD myself since childhood, I've read many books about it. My son has it. It's pretty strong in him. So I don't "classify" or "diagnose" kids who have them in school. I simply see them among others and I can kind of relate to them, we are like twin souls. Their behavior is very familiar to me.
     
  7. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2016

    How long she's been in US, I can't remember. Can ask my ESL teacher again.

    She is VERY literate in her language. One day the ESL teacher and I managed to convince her to show me how alphabet. See, this is another great example of what I was talking about. The teache told me that the girl has shown her alphabet before, and she was enthusiastic about it.

    So, one day, when H., started writing English alphabet on the board, the teacher asked her to show again HER native language. H. behaved AS IF she didn't hear her. She went through the whole alphabet, then again. The teacher kept asking. I decided to do something else. I started writing my native Russian alphabet on the board. I didn't talk to H.. The teacher started saying “Wow, that's your alphabet! How many letters?” after a few more questions-answers, H. started writing Urdu alphabet on the board.

    Oh boy, we couldn't stop her after that! She kept on going and going, even after her classroom teacher came worrying where is H., it's long passed the time she usually goes back to the classroom. She almost physcically had to tear her from the board because Urdo language is long and she was going to tell us about every single letter there. :)

    Oh, when asked how she knows she told us she goes to Sunday school. I don't know how much L1 language they speak at home, but I would assume they do, if she goes to Sunday school. I'm judging from what I know about russian families. Going to weekends school is quite a sacrifice, usually it's done by families who do speak the language and want to develop/maintain the written language as well.


    H. is not in a quiet period! No. She is in a period where she talks only when SHE wants to talk. Then the talks at normal volume, and talks a lot. If it's something she is not inerested in, then you can hardly hear her, and she uses very few words.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2016

    You said she "obviously has a bad case of ADHD". Youre making a judgement that despite your own experience, could get you into some trouble in school. I caution you about using that term in your work environment.
     
  9. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2016

    Czacza. in case you haven't noticed from my posts, I do have a head on my shoulders! I'm not mentioning ADD in school. I do it here on the forum hoping to get an advice from those who did work with kids like that
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2016

    Even here, Anna, language such as "obviously ADHD" and "kids like that" can be off-putting as evidenced by the other responses above cautioning you. Good luck to you.
     
  11. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2016

    Ok, I'm sorry for using off-putting language.

    Let's rephrase it. The best books about ADD/ADHD that I read are books by Dr. Hallowell (who has ADD himself, and he's been analyzing his and his patients condition for many years)
    Here is my favorite quote:
    Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, is a misleading name for an intriguing kind of mind. ADD is a name for a collection of symptoms, some positive, some negative. For many people, ADD is not a disorder but a trait, a way of being in the world

    So, let's say the little girl H. is not diagnosed. She just has trait, it's her way of being in the world.

    ok?
    can we now talk about strategies
     
  12. renard

    renard Companion

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    Jan 18, 2016

    I work as an ESL instructor/ELL assistant myself. I would be very cautious of using your experiences to cloud your perception of her behaviour. There are many different possible explanations for such behaviour, and you would be doing a disservice to make assumptions.

    I have myself worked extensively with a number of cultures, including Urdu-speaking Pakistani. Much of her behaviour you mention is typical from my Pakistani students at a young age, due to a cultural approach to childhood rearing. Same for many other cultures (especially my Filipino students). In later years, I actually see the benefits of this.

    Re-focus, re-focus, re-focus. Use interesting items to re-engage. Many K children struggle with this. Use body breaks or tactile activities to fully engage.
     
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  13. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2016

    Can you give me good examples of interesting items or tactile activities? thanks
     

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