ADHD 101 Educational Techniques for ADHD: Bracketing Distracting Thoughts
Bracketing Distracting Thoughts
One meaning of the term “bracketing” is “to place within.” This concept of “placing within” is a helpful strategy that students and adults can use to identify and appropriately deal with distracting thoughts.
In stage one, students decide whether their current thoughts are appropriate for the task at hand. If they are not, students can bracket them in stage two.
It is very helpful to teach students (and adults) to classify thoughts into three groups:
Appropriate to follow up on now, i.e. thoughts that promote full engagement in the lesson or other current task. During reading, for example, a “now” thought would be about the content of the reading (reading comprehension) or about ways to stay focused on reading.
A “now” thought about comprehension of a history text assignment could be, “There are three branches of the state government, and the governor is the head of the executive branch of the government.” A “now” thought about the process of reading could be something such as, “I didn’t understand what I just read…I need to read that again.”
Appropriate to pursue, but not now, for example, an interesting related idea, a clarifying question or an important task to perform. A “later” thought might be, “I wonder what laws our governor is in favor of? I could look that up on the internet.” Another example is, “I forgot to talk to my English teacher. I have to do that after school.”
(Continued on page 2)