Education, Especially For ADHD – First Ten Steps

INTEREST AREA: Education, Especially For ADHD – First Ten Steps

Core Concepts

1. Educating for human literacy: “Emotional” and “Social” Intelligence

Specific to the Creative Edge Focusing™ model, the core “human literacy” skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening can be integrated into education along with the traditional literacy of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Basic to the many aspects of “emotional” and “social” intelligence outlined in Daniel Goleman’s books, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, the core of the PRISMSS Problem Solving Process, are two simple, self-help skills that everyone can learn. They translate into every sphere of home and work life, from personal growth and creativity to interpersonal relationship and conflict resolution to collaborative work in groups and teams to problem solving in our local, national, and global communities.

Through Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid of seven applied methods , every student can learn, in about forty hours of instruction and in preschool through post-graduate education, how to:

  • Create new ideas
  • Change problem behaviors
  • Listen to another
  • Resolve interpersonal conflicts
  • Start a support group
  • Build supportive community
  • Create win/win decisions in groups
  • Create innovative solutions
  • Motivate others for collaborative action

Basic philosophy:  Each child has a unique inner blueprint. Education serves, not to fill the child with “content,” but to facilitate the unfolding of his or her unique interests and talents and to teach communication, team-work, and creative problem-solving skills.
See also Interest Area: Positive Parenting

2. Creative Edge Education is active, hands-on, always striving to engage The Creative Edge of each child

In Creative Edge Organizations, every worker is engaged at the Creative Edge of their own “intuitive felt sensing,” their specific motivating passion of the moment. So, too, in Creative Edge Education, each student should be actively engaged, actively interested, actively motivated to create out of their own Creative Edge, their own “intuitive sensing.”

In Business Schools, at the undergraduate and graduate level, hiring companies want employees skilled in working in collaborative teams. They have pushed professors from passive lecturing to aiding students to work in groups and teams. Students work on real-life, hands-on projects, including computer-generated business simulation “games” as well as actual business projects.

So, too, in our elementary and secondary education, if we want to educate future workers for creativity and innovation, students need to be taught to be active learners, to be engaged at their Creative Edge, and to work in groups and teams on collaborative, real-life projects. Read More about Focusing in Education.

3. Creative Edge Education respects differing gifts and talents

In business settings, there is great appreciation for the fact that teams need a balance of people with different skills, interests, and talents. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one personality test widely used in organizations to help co-workers come to appreciate the “differing gifts” each brings to the table and to avoid conflict by respecting these differences. The MBTI helps businesses to hire personnel, organize teams, and increase conflict-free collaboration.

The MBTI is also widely used in education, to identify students’ differing gifts and to offer guidance in terms of career choices utilizing various gifts. The MBTI, has proved highly valid in predicting future career choices and guiding students into careers which are a good fit for their particular skills, talents, and interests (Myers, Gifts Differing, 1980).

Kiersey’s Please Understand Me, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and Mel Levines’ All Kinds Of Minds all offer additional perspectives for appreciating the “differing gifts” of each child. See Personality Testsfor thorough descriptions and sample tests from these models.

The Career Academy model for high school education, sponsored by the federal Department of Labor in the USA, allows students to become exposed to a variety of possible career choices through hands-on, real-life activities. It also helps students to specialize in an area of interest leading directly into actual jobs or next-step accreditation programs, such as community colleges and technical schools, as well as colleges and universities.

4. Creative Edge Education pays special attention to the needs of students with ADHD and other non-traditional learning styles. It  joins with Juvenile Justice in prevention of school dropout and juvenile delinquency

The Creative Edge/ Differing Gifts model outlined above can apply to all education, but the education of those children labeled as  having “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or “Attention Deficit Disorder” and other learning differences  is an urgent area needing response.

  “Attention Deficit Disorder” simply defines children in terms of their “deficit” in the ability to participate in and benefit from traditional, passive, obedience-based education. These children receive a positive definition for their “unique abilities” in the Myers-Briggs and Keirsey definitions of differing temperaments and learning styles. The child with an SP, hands-on learning style, called The Artisan by Keirsey, can excel in an active, independence-based, hands-on learning environment, steered toward careers which maximize the use of these special skills.

In a traditional classroom, where obedience and passive learning are the watch word, the Guardian children (who make up one-third of the typical classroom) have an advantage, while the Artisan children (which, according to Keirsey, make up another one-third of every classroom!):

  1. Are doing the “wrong thing” all day long, given their inability to “sit still, listen, and obey.” Their behavior is just the opposite, a need to learn by moving, and by their own hands-on, trial and error, not by passive listening. The medications like Ritalin help them to “sit still,” to conform to the traditional model.
  2. Are being punished all day long for doing the “wrong thing,” ending up in time-out, in the hall, in detention. Their self-esteem and trust in themselves to make good judgments are destroyed, encouraging them to identify themselves as “losers,” “bad kids.”
  3. Are pushed out of school and into school dropout, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, drugs, and other high-risk behavior.
  4. Become our lower-tier of “working class poor” or jobless people.

Needed instead: Hands-on and other learning approaches which respect their different learning style and lead to careers which they can thrive in.

Of course, legislation at the national or state level specify academic content which must be learned by every student, as an attempt at holding educators responsible for delivering an equal product to all learners. This seeming conflict with a Creative Edge model, which aims at maximizing the unique, creativity-motivated learning of each child and producing creative, innovative, self-motivated and collaborative adults, must be given attention in finding compromises which work to the advantage of each child.

Join the Creative Edge E-Discussion Group to join in further brainstorming with interested others, find “one small step” people are willing to do, create action plans for carrying out our mission, and use our power as a concerned “group” to approach legislators, foundations, whoever has the power to bring listening/focusing into education.

The goal? Having training in PRISM/S and Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid as a cost- and time-efficient part of curriculum for teaching “emotional” and “social” intelligence as basic to “human literacy.”Here is just a beginning taste of possible directions. We will want to narrow down, perhaps, decide where to concentrate our resources – unless we find enough of us to do everything!

Ten Ways of Bringing Creative Edge Focusing into Education

  1. If you are not a teacher or school administrator, brainstorm with any you know about Creative Edge Focusing as “human literacy” and how to interact effectively with school systems to propose a Creative Edge Focusing curriculum
  2. Collaborate with others at Creative Edge Focusing™ to create a Creative Edge Focusing™ curriculum for each level of education, from pre-school through graduate school.
  3. Offer a power point presentation on Creative Edge Focusing™, with PRISMS/S //link to 1.A.3)// and Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid//link to 1.A.4)// of skills and methods to a Parent Teacher Organization meeting. Interface the core skills with Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence work.
  4. Offer to follow up with a ten-week Focusing Group/Team training with interested staff and parents ( or separate groups for parents and school personnel, if this is more comfortable for those concerned), to learn the core Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening skills  and Interpersonal Focusing and Collaborative Decision Making skills and to problem solve on how to bring Creative Edge Focusing™ into their school or school system. Make a plan and help carry it out.
  5. Offer a similar presentation at higher levels in the school system hierarchy, for instance, district-wide teacher inservice days, Education Collaboratives funded to offer training to teachers, education conferences, teacher training programs in Universities, followed up with a Focusing Group ten-week training.
  6. Offer Focusing Groups as a burn-out prevention method for teachers and as a first step in their learning Listening/Focusing skills to turn around and teach to students.
  7. Offer to start a peer counseling training program at a school or school system, training selected students in Listening, Focusing, Interpersonal Focusing and Collaborative Decision Making who can then serve as peer counselors to other students and to mediate interpersonal conflicts and facilitate group decision making when needed (as in a Student Court, for instance). Peer counseling is an established practice in some schools that can be built on. Google it and network with others using this approach in schools, try to get a grant….
  8. Find ten foundations which sponsor innovations in education (such as George Lucas’ foundation and Gardner’s Project Zero. Approach each with a proposal for integrating “human literacy” training through Creative Edge Focusing™ into some chosen schools (e.g., Head Start, Career Academies, Waldorf, or other innovative kinds of schools)
  9. Approach Business Schools with an “emotional intelligence/human literacy” Creative Edge Focusing™ curriculum of PRISMS/S and Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid. This would  prepare business students for Focused Listening to clients, Intuitive Focusing for creative problem solving, Interpersonal Focusing for conflict resolution, and Collaborative Edge Focusing Decision Making for productive team/group meetings.
  10. Find ten foundations which sponsor education-based interventions in impoverished areas, such as the Peace Corps and Vista. Propose that they incorporate “human literacy” through Creative Edge Focusing™ into their programs.

Just ideas! As a parent of two children with special learning needs, I have lots of experience interacting with school systems, but I’m not a teacher or administrator. I would like to see ideas from inside of these systems for integrating “human literacy” into curriculum. Please join our e-discussion/support group for continued collaboration on Creative Edge Focusing and Education. 

Want to learn more about Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing?

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These materials are offered purely as self-help skills. In providing them, Dr. McGuire is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.