School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Amy G. Jones


ADHD, overly active student, mainstream teacher, distracted students, accommodating instruction, adjusting instruction, modifying instruction, elementary students, classroom teacher, label student, social learning theory, school leadership, parents, teacher self-efficacy


Curriculum and Instruction | Elementary Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore those lived experiences that predispose some mainstream elementary teachers to initially modify in-classroom instruction to meet the needs of their overly active, distracted students before referring them for an ADHD evaluation. Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory was the lens through which this study was examined. In essence, social learning theory suggests that individuals learn what they know and how they should act through formal and informal interactions with others. The central research question around which this study revolved was: What are the lived experiences of mainstream classroom teachers who prefer to first initiate in-classroom instructional modifications to meet the needs of their overly active, distracted students before referring them for testing? Using a qualitative research method, guided by Moustakas (1994), data collected consisted of lived experiences shared by participants. To collect this data, the online study was structured to include a semi-formal individual interview, four written reflective prompts, and one focus group. Triangulation among the data collection methods contributed to validity. The ten teacher participants were current or former mainstream classroom teachers, who had taught for a minimum of four years, at any combination of grades K-6, who preferred to initially modify instruction for overly active, distracted students before referring them for a formal ADHD assessment. Saldana (2021) informed data collection, analysis, and eclectic coding and synthesis. The central research question and three sub-questions were all successfully answered using different combinations of the three emergent themes: Self-agency, School Leadership, and Parents.