Positioning Behaviour: ADHD in the post-welfare educational era

Adams, Paul (2008) Positioning Behaviour: ADHD in the post-welfare educational era. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12 (2). pp. 113-125. ISSN 1360-3116 (https://doi.org/10.1080/13603110600790423)

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As schooling at least partly concerns itself with formulating relationships, it is understandable that certain behaviours are seen as necessary to the advancement of learning and teaching. However, how pupil behaviour is judged is an indication of wider political perspectives, which in turn assist in the categorization of behaviour. In this respect, wider political perspectives require analysis if reactions to pupil behaviour are to be understood. Via the assertion that contemporary English Education is immersed in the target‐driven, economically determinist assumptions and orientations of the post‐welfare era, it is proposed that certain pupil behaviours are seen to be required, i.e. behaviours that supposedly engender increased performance on external examinations and tests. Problematically, such requirements effectively position some pupils outside this narrative, particularly those whose behaviour is deemed non‐compliant. Often speculation determines that such pupils might ‘have’ Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and following a ‘positive’ diagnosis they are thus pathologized. This paper contends that both parents and educational staff are complicit in the seemingly burgeoning diagnosis of ADHD but for different reasons: parents as a diagnosis offers mitigating circumstances for pupil behaviour and therefore increased entry prospects to those schools seen to do well; teachers as a means to mediate the seemingly contradictory policies of increased attainment and compliance with central mandate, and extensive calls for inclusion of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN).


Adams, Paul ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8527-9212;