Here is a question I received today.
Good afternoon Jason,
(snip) I am a researcher who assisting a foundation in their effort to establish a new charter school to serve students with ADHD. The curriculum would be taught through project-based learning and other interest-based models, specifically the Big Picture Model. We have recently been declined by the school district’s board of directors. The reasoning behind the board’s decline was that the population of students we wish to serve would not be able to sustain this type of independent learning. Therefore, I am currently searching for real, valid research that shows this type of learning is possible. I am specifically looking for reaserch that would address the following questions:
1. Are children with ADHD able to become more engaged in learning when the topic/subject is interesting for them? If so, how?
2. Can students with ADHD learn/succeed in project-based learning models?
Given your position and interests, I hope that you can point me in the right direction. Thank you in advance for your time and effort to respond to my questions.
My response was as follows:
I don’t know about research on ADHD students specifically but will try to keep an eye out for this. There is research that PBL benefits low performing students in general (because they were not successful in traditional instruction!) (snip). IIn general, it seems to makes sense you would want ADHD kids to be active, not sitting passively.
Our survey did not focus on special needs students, but in our analyses we saw no relationship between PBL use and the percent of students who qualified as special needs. PBL was actually used slightly more, not less, with continuation/transfer students too. (Spreadsheet attached).
All for now. Feel free to keep in touch. I’d be very interested to hear about the results of your research.