Implementation of classroom management strategies, designed to assist students with ADHD to achieve social, academic and emotional success, is an essential role of the teacher. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a brief in-service training workshop aimed at increasing primary school teachers’ knowledge of ADHD and self-efficacy, and whether any observed increases were retained up to 1 month following study completion.
A total of 274 primary school teachers from 10 schools across the greater Sydney Metropolitan area and Wollongong regions, in Australia were recruited to this quasi-experimental, quantitative, repeated-measures study. Schools were allocated to 1 of 2 groups depending on schedules: intervention or waitlist control, with intervention consisting of a 2 hour 15 minute (including a 15-minute break), single‑session training workshop comprised of the following:
- The first half focussed on ADHD aetiology, neuropsychological and executive functioning impairments, ADHD assessment, symptoms and diagnosis, course/consequences, cultural conceptualisations and ADHD treatment
- The second half focussed on classroom management strategies, referral instructions and communication with parents of children with ADHD and healthcare professionals
Teachers’ ADHD knowledge was measured using the Knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorders Scale (KADDS).* The long-form version of the Teachers’ Sense of Self-Efficacy (TSES) enabled teachers to evaluate their own probable teaching success.†
The mean (SD) age of recruited teachers were 39.9 (11.1) and 43.6 (11.8) years for the intervention and waitlist control groups, respectively. Measurement and analysis of ADHD knowledge and self‑efficacy at the 1-month follow-up period revealed that:
- Teachers’ ADHD knowledge was higher in the intervention group (p<0.001) compared with the waitlist group
- Teachers’ ADHD knowledge increased from pre- to post-intervention in the intervention group (M=15.7 [SD, 7.4] versus M=32.5 [SD, 3.8]), and with minimal increase from pre- to post-intervention in the waitlist group (M=17.3 [SD, 7.4] versus M=18.1 [SD, 7.7])
- Teachers’ self-efficacy scores were higher in the intervention group (p<0.05) compared with the waitlist group
- Teachers’ self-efficacy scores increased from pre- to post-intervention (M=7.1 [SD, 1.1] versus M=7.6 [SD, 0.9]) in the intervention group, and decreased for the waitlist group (M=7.0 [SD, 1.0] versus M=6.9 [SD, 0.9])
- Levels of ADHD knowledge at follow-up were significantly lower compared with that of post‑intervention (p<0.001), but greater than that of pre-intervention (p<0.001)
- Levels of self-efficacy at follow-up were significantly lower compared with that of post‑intervention (p<0.05), but greater than that of pre-intervention (p<0.001)
This study had several limitations: 1) schools were not randomised to intervention / waitlist due to scheduling limitations; 2) volunteer bias arising from inclusion of teachers more inclined to participate in such research programmes may limit the generalisability of the results; 3) a follow-up period of 1 month is a relatively short time-period; 4) despite utilising a peer-reviewed, highly-structured, monitored intervention, objective treatment fidelity mechanisms were not used; 5) previous studies have demonstrated a correlation between age and ADHD knowledge, and so, an age difference of 3.7 years between groups may influence the results; 6) racial and/or ethnic data were not collected; 7) 1 teacher did not review the programme prior to intervention, the feedback for which is important for assessing self-efficacy in this population.
The authors conclude that a brief training workshop increased primary school teachers’ knowledge of ADHD; however, only modest increases in self-efficacy were observed. At the 1-month follow-up, a reduction in ADHD knowledge and self-efficacy was observed. Despite this, a brief in-service training workshop may provide a cost-effective means for ADHD-based teacher training.
Read more about in-service teacher training for increasing ADHD knowledge and self-awareness here
*KADDS is a 39-item rating scale focussing on 3 areas: associated/general features (15 items), symptoms/diagnosis (9 items) and treatment (12 items). Responses to each item were recorded as ‘true’, ‘false’, or ‘don’t know’, with the latter enabling differentiation between correct and incorrect answers, and misconceptions. A correct response was scored as 1, and an incorrect response/misconception scored as 0.
†TSES consists of 24 items grouped into 3 efficacy categories: student engagement (8 items), instructional strategies (8 items) and classroom management (8 items), the responses to which follow a 9-point Likert-type scale from 1=nothing to 9=a great deal. All measurements were recorded via an online survey or a mixture of online survey and paper questionnaires.
Latouche AP, Gascoigne M. In-Service Training for Increasing Teachers’ ADHD Knowledge and Self-Efficacy. J Atten Disord 2017; Epub ahead of print.