We’ve been deep-diving into classroom management over the past several posts. We are getting to know that one kid and what makes this student tick. In this article, we looked at trauma informed behavior management strategies for children struggling with adverse childhood experiences. Today we’re going to explore the hunters and farmers theory about ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
We’ve all met them, haven’t we? Those children who bounce around your classroom all day or the one who stares into space, lost in thought. Some of these kids come in with either stories or casts from feats like riding a pogo stick off the roof of their home (true story) or from trying to drive an electric four-wheeler up a tree (also a true story). Some of these behaviors may be related to processing disorders, sensory issues, or other neurodivergence your children may face. Others behavior issues may be due to the hyperactivity/inattentiveness label.
Executive Functioning and Self-Regulation
Some kids are not wired to sit in a desk inside all day. We may label these children as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Once I became a teacher and learned more about this type of neurodivergence, I realized that my own brain slides a little to the attention deficit disorder side. My legs tend to wiggle, and I struggle to sit still in long meetings. I hated school as a kid. The thought of getting in trouble terrified me, so my hypervigilance trumped any hyperactivity I may have had. I never understood myself or my students completely until I listened to this podcast that explains ADHD/ADD as evolutionary. This blew my mind and totally changed my perception of my own wiring and that of my kids. This alternative viewpoint helped me and offered a different mindset about ADD/ADHD!
Hunters and Farmers Theory About ADD/ADHD
I stumbled upon a podcast called The Drummer and the Great Mountain, where Bahman Sarram and Michael Joseph Ferguson basically divide the population into two categories: hunters and farmers. I looked a little more deeply and found this theory began with Thom Hartman and his book A Hunter in a Farmer’s World. Way back in prehistoric times, humans were not the top of the food chain. In order to survive, humans hunted, and traveled around following prey. We “cave people” had to focus on everything in our environment in order to hunt effectively and avoid being eaten by larger predators. Like the ADHD/ADD individuals of today, we could not screen out any stimuli in our environment. Filters were deadly and would have meant the end of our species. As hunter types reacted to the stimuli in their environment, their systems gave them hits of adrenaline to survive, then dopamine as a reward.
Farmers, on the other hand, evolved to patiently wait for crops to grow. They weren’t counting on herds of wooly mammoths as their only food source. Agricultural families stayed in one place, and saber- toothed tigers weren’t a threat anymore. Farmers were born to filter tens of thousands of years after the original hunter humans, and their system needed far fewer dopamine hits to be happy.
Celebrating a Different Mindset about ADD/ADHD
According to the hunters and farmers theory about ADD/ADHD as evolutionary, the world is now full of filtering farmers. However, ever vigilant, non-filtering hunter genes have not left our genome yet. Back in the early part of the twentieth century, kids did way more physical work and activity than they have done from the latter part of the century into present day. Discipline was way more physical then as well. The theory says that, while these hunter kids may not have been successful in school, they didn’t dare move. Besides, they were too tired!
I don’t know if any of this theory is true; it would be nearly impossible to prove. It does, however, make me and consequently the students wired in this way feel like less of a problem and more like a true product of my ancient ancestors. Come back next time for some solutions to help the hunters in your life.
Before You Go…
Are you ready to take these strategies to the next level and explore some mindfulness with your students?
Using these strategies may keep your classroom from resembling at category 5 hurricane, but late summer and early fall are prime times for a hurricane to head up the coast. Need to teach a weather unit? Need to prepare your students for some crazy weather? Here are a few products centering around my favorite twin characters, Tasha and Tio, that might help!
- Tasha and Tio Prepare for the Hurricane: A Low-Prep Literacy Packet
- Tasha and Tio Prepare for the Hurricane: A Reader’s Theater Script
- Tasha and Tio Prepare for the Hurricane: Literacy Packet and Script Bundle
- Check out the back to school category for more products and freebies for your first weeks of school.