Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Accommodating or Incorporating?

There is an ongoing debate in a corner of one of the classrooms in which I teach, as to whether ADD and ADHD really exist, or whether they serve as "excuses" for lazy students. The debate is all student led, and today -- humorously -- was juxtaposed with another debate between students debating whether ghosts and other supernatural phenomena exist.

I was summoned into the debate and shared what I know of the medical consensus, and of my own struggles. They seemed surprised, but didn't ask much. A few hours later, I got a call from a good friend who described her brainstorming weekend with two other social media marketers. She said that all three experienced many moments the conventional world labels as "ADD," but that they accomplished a good deal. If we're not overselling our productivity, what else are we claiming with our "multi-tasking" but the non-linear productivity pioneered by "ADD" brains?

Many ADD consultants talk about ADD as non-linear processing. And many educators talk about "meeting the needs" of ADD students, but are educators planning lessons for the WHOLE class based on the non-linear learner? Are we helping these students merely brace for the NON-nonlinear world, or are we training them to harness their nonlinearity to its fullest potential?

Afterthought: Can non-ADD "linear" learners benefit from such an approach?

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