SEN in secondary(14 Posts)
I am a trainee teacher and have just discovered I will be teaching a class of 17 with a wide range of SEN and other needs including medical, between them. It's a Y7 group. Has anyone any advice on positive teachng strategies that will help this group learn English skills? I have not had any training on SEN from school or university. I have been in the group as an assistant so far and they are very difficult to manage, but what concerns me is how I can adapt my teaching style to help them learn. At least two need someone sitting with them constantly for them to do anything at all. Others distract each other.
I would say one key is to have activities prepared that are differentiated that most of them can do independently. That means that 1. It is less important that they listen to you set up tasks for long periods of time 2. Most will be able to get on with work and achieve 3. You can concentrate on supporting the key students
Then bring it all together for feedback and lots of praise/rewards for work completed etc. And consequences for this that don't.
Speak to Senco
Get to know students names and then them as individuals
Watch them in other classes
Settling tasks such as wordsearches
Chunking down tasks
Mark work regularly w lots of feedback
Give opportunities to succeed
‘Circle of silence’ is my ultimate trick - work towards 5min of silent work (and then build it) everyone who manages it gets raffle ticket. Those who don’t, don’t! Rewards good behaviour but do t be cross w those who failed. Give several opportunities through lesson. Draw at end of lesson - I have a tin of ‘toptastic treats’ (tat such as pencils, runners etc).
If you let them, this group will teach you how to teach. If you can get them to learn, you can get any class to learn. See it as your crucible!
Do you know what sort of levels they are working at?
A big mistake lots of people make is having too high expectations
If they are working on P scales, really look into what that means
I'd think about having quite short tasks that they can at least attempt independently although you may find that they will be reluctant to start and have a go (lots of potential for self esteem issues)
Try and make your resources age appropriate as well as ability appropriate
Poor behaviour -give them opportunity to turn it around and make the right choice
Thanks so much for all this. It's very useful.
Expectations are a concern for me. I don't know what expectations are realistic and fair, given their conditions.
What is a good seating arrangement would you say? One uni advisor said 'group and project work.' The teacher currently has them in rows and no group work so far as I have seen.
I simply feel under-trained and inexperienced to be dealing with a group like this, and I am worried they are going to be let down because they don't have a teacher who is experienced in getting kids with ADHD, ASC, EAL, learning disabilities etc. to make progress.
I don't know what P scales are - we don't seem to have that info as far as I can see. We just have the statement of their diagnosis, and a number of different reading scores from primary- I don't know what these mean in practice.
Expectations: for example, they have real trouble with not calling out and putting their hand up. They also have trouble with remembering not to talk when I am talking. I have been reminding them constantly, and stressing I will not answer unless they have their hand up and are not calling out. I also praise when they do focus (for 30 seconds!) It feels unfair though to be handing out detentions as I would be expected to if a different group persistnelty shouted out and talked out of turn.
P scales are a way of assessing children with SEN that are not accessing the curriculum
SEN children in a mainstream school would probably be above P levels but you may have some with specific needs may have very spikey profiles and really struggle in certain areas so may be functioning quite low
You really need to find out quite quickly where they are at ability wise -can they write a simple sentence independently, what is their reading age etc.
Class layout is personal choice -I like a u shape wth a small group in the middle -means I can see everyone, they can see me and it's easy for me to move around and work with target children
Behaviour wise, short simple instructions -you really need to break things down and not give multi step instructions.
They will need time to process what you say, don't rush them.
Compassion and understanding goes a lot further than detentions and other sanctions
'I'm happy you want to share -hand up thank you' will work better than 'don't shout out'
-depending on what their aural processing is like, they may only retain 'shout out' and do it more
Tell them the desired behaviour, and positive praise when they do the right thing
How much support will you have in class?
One uni advisor said 'group and project work.'
This uni advisor does not understand autism, ADHD or any related executive functioning type difficulty.
It's great to aim for group work as a way of helping them to develop their social and general classroom skills, not the way to approach teaching them the nuts and bolts of the curriculum which they must absorb. The social load will overtake the learning. Their current teacher has them in rows (on individual desks by any chance?) for a good reason. If you want them to learn, cut down the environmental stimulation including social demands.
My tips would be: make it visual (video clips where you can), build in repetition (good for over learning and experiencing success), give them brain breaks (just 5 mins when you let them get up and move and talk every 20 mins or so) and set up a consistent lesson structure which you always repeat (e.g. starter task, teach, video, brain break, independent task, group assess/ correct, brain break, teach, video- end).
Thanks, this is ever so helpful. What you say about group work rings very true based on what I have seen of them. I will normally have one other adult in the room with me. (plus the teacher observing me, but I don't know if they will be able to help or will have to 'straight' observe). The desks are currently in pairs, not individual.
Make everything visual. They are likely to have working memory difficulties, plus difficulties with planning. So if you give them a task write each step down, with a little picture. When you are talking use pictures, or objects are even better. Use gesture, mime, anything to add a visual element to your talking.
Repeat everything. Don’t wait for them to ask, explain each task at least twice.
One instruction at a time, in chronological order. Be clear and consistent. Try not to shout and don’t use sarcasm.
It’s so great that you’re bothering to ask though. So many don’t.
I would have a think about what are your ‘non-negotiables’ and what you are happy not to fight...showing respect to each other, TA. D me was most imp for me, whereas I wasn’t as bothered about other things...have a ready supply of equipment, write things down and keep it interesting...
Have to say once you get the class on your side they will LOVE you because they see the effort you put in, marking doesn’t take as long, and you will build confidence. Last thing I can think of is try really hard to make every lesson a fresh start...good luck (but ask for help, please!!)
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