Tuesday September 4, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Berk shire Community College held a half-day training for its faculty and staff last week, featuring a guest speaker and researcher of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

"My hunch is that a number of your students have been beaten down at one point or another," said Dr. Edward Hallowell, addressing more than 50 BCC faculty and staff members.

Hallowell, a psychiatrist who works with children and adults and is an expert on ADHD research, gave a talk titled, "Helping Students (and Ourselves) Find Focus in a World of Distraction."

According to BCC spokeswoman Christina Barrett, community college students, faculty and staff, no matter where they are, all share a dilemma -- the sources of information, and more often distraction, are pervasive and hard to tune out.

"This is the age of interruption. In a room like this, there's usually some students surfing the Internet underneath the desk with an iPhone," said Hallowell.

Barrett said Dori Digenti, director of BCC's Center for Teaching & Learning, organized the professional development day to help give teachers ideas for attempting to help clear distraction to better help students succeed academically and socially.

"You focus someone by engaging them," said Hallowell, who encouraged faculty to "meet students where they are" and guide them to set personal goals.

The psychiatrist said that setting standards on the use of social technology, for example, can be an effective way of reducing distraction.


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Hallowell also noted that this can only be successful if the example is set and enforced across the campus culture.

"We have to mange it so it doesn't manage us," he said.