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Teachers - how much are you taught about SEN during your training?

(30 Posts)
Hassled Sat 20-Sep-08 20:10:15

I ask because I was a bit bewildered after a chat with the father of one of DS2's friends. The father is an ICT teacher at a High School. We were talking about DS2's Dyspraxia and he said "Isn't it one of those things where the penny finally drops and they sort their handwriting and stuff out? I mean, you don't come across any adults with Dyspraxia, do you?".

I put him straight in the politest possible way - and freely admit that until 2 of my DCs were diagnosed with Dyspraxia I knew nothing at all about it. But then I'm not a teacher, which is why I'm posting - when you do your teacher training, are you given training in how to spot, or info about, specific learning difficulties - Dyslexia, Dyscalculia etc? Does it depend on the age range you're training to teach?

cornsilk Sat 20-Sep-08 20:17:06

Not a great deal although it is better now than it used to be. My friend (primary teacher) didn't know what aspergers was for instance.

Hassled Sat 20-Sep-08 20:18:49

so it's not part of the standard learning-to-teach curriculum?

I feel a campaign coming on.

SqueakyPop Sat 20-Sep-08 20:33:21

I think we had it as the focus of one of our weeks. We learnet about the issues, legal stuff etc, and in our leeson had to identify or address SEN issues. I did my PGCE in 1994, btw.

pointydog Sat 20-Sep-08 20:34:44

Most of the SEN that you are most likely to come acrotss were covered in a very short block during teacher training. After that, it can be fairly ad hoc and often depends either on the individual teacher wanting to find out more or on having a child in teh class with SEN that necessitates further learning and undertsanding.

wonderstuff Sat 20-Sep-08 20:37:20

You don't necesseraly get exposed to specific conditions. Dyslexia is common enough that you will get some exposure to it, but dyspraxia isn't all that common. I think a lot of it depends on where you train.

moondog Sat 20-Sep-08 20:39:24

As a SALT i an horrified at how little teachers are told, even those that work in Special Ed. (my field). It's nowt short of a national scandal.

Ceolas Sat 20-Sep-08 20:41:03

I graduated 9 years ago and there was very little taught as part of the B.Ed then. I would imagine secondary teachers would get even less.

There is, however much more inservice training "on the job", at least in primary ime.

SqueakyPop Sat 20-Sep-08 20:41:03

There is a minimum amount of SEN that you have to be exposed to or have to address. These have to be ticked off on you competencies/standards.

A subject teacher in secondary is not equipped to fully teach SEN pupils, but should have enough training to be sensitive to needs, refer to SENS, and implement their recommendations. They should include SEN children when doing differentiation.

Hassled Sat 20-Sep-08 20:44:39

This is making me realise how incredibly lucky I've been with my DC's teachers. DS2's Reception teacher noticed how often he fell over, his Yr 1 teacher commented on the gap between his written work and his reading skills, and his Yr 2 teacher actually said "I think he's Dyspraxic - we need to get a diagnosis".

But it shouldn't be down to my good luck, should it?

cornsilk Sat 20-Sep-08 20:46:34

I was told recently by my ds's school's SENCO that Ed Psychs weren't able to diagnose dyslexia. I know that is incorrect but many parents wouldn't. Scary really.

SqueakyPop Sat 20-Sep-08 20:47:21

Do your teachers have their superior knowledge through actual training or because they have been in the job for many years?

wonderstuff Sat 20-Sep-08 20:50:13

I think that most teachers would recognise if a child was having difficulties that would indicate a specific condition, but they wouldn't always know what condition iyswim. A SENCO would obviously have more knowledge, but tbh I don't think it is reasonable for each teacher to be fully aware of all SEN issues, it IS reasonable to expect all of the teachers to be sensitive to and have a knowledge of specific conditions of children they teach.

Hassled Sat 20-Sep-08 20:58:27

SqueakyPop - none were youngish teachers, so I guess just the wisdom of experience.

Wonderstuff - yes, you're right, not reasonable to expect an in-depth knowledge, I know. The guy in my OP just so clearly had no clue I was interested in whether he should have had a clue, IYSWIM.

Thanks all - it's been interesting.

SqueakyPop Sun 21-Sep-08 08:17:36

If the teacher in question is an ICT teacher, he may not appreciate the difficulties a child with dyslexia (spell checks) and dyspraxia (little pencil holding); he may see dyscalculia, but there is not a lot of training in this across the board at the moment.

A lot really depends on how much you are exposed everyday. I am very aware of my dyspraxic children, and also those who have difficulties with numbers.

I basically take advice from the SENCO as to how to address each of these problems on an individual basis, as there is not a magic bullet that solves all their problems. A lot of my focus with these children is to do with their self-esteem, eg, not forcing them to read aloud, not correcting all their spellings etc.

SqueakyPop Sun 21-Sep-08 08:17:38

If the teacher in question is an ICT teacher, he may not appreciate the difficulties a child with dyslexia (spell checks) and dyspraxia (little pencil holding); he may see dyscalculia, but there is not a lot of training in this across the board at the moment.

A lot really depends on how much you are exposed everyday. I am very aware of my dyspraxic children, and also those who have difficulties with numbers.

I basically take advice from the SENCO as to how to address each of these problems on an individual basis, as there is not a magic bullet that solves all their problems. A lot of my focus with these children is to do with their self-esteem, eg, not forcing them to read aloud, not correcting all their spellings etc.

asdmumandteacher Sun 21-Sep-08 10:27:03

14 years ago now i trained - NOTHING!! (secondary music) I now have a son with severe autism and people think because i am a teacher i have more strategies to cope ....errr no! SEN training was woefully inadequate

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sun 21-Sep-08 10:30:03

IME outside of special schools in general teacher's haven't the faintest idea. Of course there are always exceptions, but it's a huge stumbling block for inclusion. To work it relies on individuals understanding SN and unless the head or senco has a particular interest there's usually a frightening level of ignorance.

Hulababy Sun 21-Sep-08 10:31:32

Very little - did TT about 12-14 years ago. Differentiation came up in the nomral curriculum, but nothing about specific SEN at all.

hatrick Sun 21-Sep-08 10:33:03

Message withdrawn

asdmumandteacher Sun 21-Sep-08 10:35:29

The same hulababy-exactly the same

Which is why my youngest son is going to a special school (SLD) and not a mainstream primary

Umlellala Sun 21-Sep-08 10:35:50

Trained 6 years ago and had one day of formally taught SEN training - plus reading list.
Agree with squeakypop. We also have regular INSET to update (see, that's what INSET days are for wink) eg In my previous sec school we had an INSET session devoted to strategies for supporting children on the Autistic spectrum as a child on the spectrum was coming into Year 7... was v useful...

cornsilk Sun 21-Sep-08 10:40:46

IME it depends a lot on the individual schools and also on whether the teachers care about SEN also. Someone told me the other day that their mum was a teacher and didn't believe that dyslexia existed. In a school I worked in recently the SENCO thought that the Dyslexia Institute were 'a bunch of amateurs' and that parents were paying them 'to say that their child was dyslexic'. She also dismissed chn I brought to her attention as just rushing through their work and not really applying themselves. I left that school very concerned about chn who I was convinced had SpLD who were just being left to get on with it.

Umlellala Sun 21-Sep-08 10:51:01

Some teachers are really crap.

SqueakyPop Sun 21-Sep-08 10:54:54

I don't feel that I should receive more formal training in SEN - unless it happened to be a special interest area for me. I feel that my job is to feed back any concerns about individual pupils to the SENCO, and then act on their advice re: teaching strategies.

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