What is a Teaching Assistant? A teaching assistant is responsible for supporting pupils with special educational needs in the classroom. The main duties include working alongside classroom teachers to plan and implement lessons, providing one-on-one support to pupils, and helping to create a positive learning environment. This may be in a mainstream school, a special… Continue reading How to answer an interview question “What are the most important qualities of a teaching assistant?”
How can teachers and teaching assistants motivate pupils to learn?
Developing pupil motivation using 10 evidence based strategies. Teaching Assistants (TAs) play a vital role in supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in the classroom. One of the most important aspects of their work is to help these pupils develop a strong motivation to learn. This is crucial because pupils with SEN may face… Continue reading How can teachers and teaching assistants motivate pupils to learn?
Leading A Team For SEN Teachers/ECTs
This post is based on "Leading a Team" training I delivered to colleagues in Kent special schools. It is aimed at ECTs, Teachers, and HLTAs. Anyone stepping up to lead a class in a special school becomes a leader of a team. This is usually of a team of Teaching or Learning Support Assistants (TA/LSA).… Continue reading Leading A Team For SEN Teachers/ECTs
Effective Courageous and Curious Conversations for Leaders in School.
Curious, Courageous, and Coaching Conversations in School. Leading conversations is not about power or forcing people to do as they are told. It is about gaining buy-in and building trust. When holding conversations around practice, or conflict there will be specific elements of people management but that is not leadership. As a leader you encourage… Continue reading Effective Courageous and Curious Conversations for Leaders in School.
Masking, Behaviour, and Learning Needs.
This is a record of the #SENexchange discussion from 2nd February 2022. We based the chat on the article: The tip of the iceberg: SEND, masking and multiple needs written by regular discussion contributor Sara Alston. I have edited some responses for clarity. A Discussion on Masking and Learning Needs at School and Home. How… Continue reading Masking, Behaviour, and Learning Needs.
Discussing A Beginners Guide To Ableism
This is a record of the January 2022 #SENexchange discussion of themes from this brand new free document. A beginners guide to Ableism tapestry.info/a-beginners-gu… This topic is so important. Emily Lees, an autistic speech and Language Therapist wrote the guide. This should be read by everyone who works in the field of SEN. Our write-ups… Continue reading Discussing A Beginners Guide To Ableism
Develop Authentic Interaction Styles To Improve Learning
Individual interaction styles can have a huge impact on learning. When working with young people with SEN there are many different strategies and approaches to engage them in learning. What is often overlooked is the adult's interaction style. This can influence not only engagement but behaviour, wellbeing and, well all outcomes really. I would like… Continue reading Develop Authentic Interaction Styles To Improve Learning
Functions of Behaviour: Fear and Escape
A Reformed Functionalist. Acting in a certain way to get out of something is commonplace for many children and young people. And adults come to that. If you have attended a PBS (positive behaviour support) course or any behaviour training you may have heard the term functions of behaviour. Attempts to get away from, out… Continue reading Functions of Behaviour: Fear and Escape
Peer Interactions, Social Skills, and Play: EHCP Targets
It is not uncommon to see EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plans) targets linked to Social Skills, Play and Peer Interactions However these often present unique challenges to children with SEND and especially autistic children. These challenges go beyond “they don’t know how”. It is much more complex than that. When designing interventions to meet… Continue reading Peer Interactions, Social Skills, and Play: EHCP Targets
Learning Through Play – An SENexchange Discussion
This blog on learning through play is a write up of the final #SENexchange of the 2020/2021 academic year. This chat was hosted by Georgina Durrant from author of 100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play: Fun Activities for Young Children with SEN (Find out more here). There were a number of contributors so… Continue reading Learning Through Play – An SENexchange Discussion
Hand over Hand VS Hand Under Hand Support
The use of physical prompts which includes hand over hand and hand under hand is widespread and accepted practice. This includes but is not limited to, pupils with a range of disabilities including PMLD, SLD, and visual impairment. Described by VanDijk (1966) as forming part of a set of teaching strategies for supporting deaf-blind children… Continue reading Hand over Hand VS Hand Under Hand Support
Using Breaks To Enhance Learning
Why should you give children breaks to help them learn? This post was inspired by an overheard conversation and links two issues. Access to planned interventions and the provision of learning breaks throughout the day. A parent of an autistic child was questioning whether a school should have stopped their child from attending their sensory… Continue reading Using Breaks To Enhance Learning
Line of Duty: The Sensory Story
Mother of God it’s the Line of Duty Sensory Story! No copyright infringement intended (Sorry BBC, please don’t sue) just a bit of fun. I wrote this with older sensory learners in mind. Sometimes sensory stories are not fully age appropriate for adults with PMLD. There is no reason not to engage people based on… Continue reading Line of Duty: The Sensory Story
The SEND Interview Teaching Activity
Our recruitment and interview process posts are very popular. However we haven't talked about the teaching interview activity. One of the questions we get asked is around the teaching side of the interview process. Candidates for teaching positions almost always have to demonstrate their teaching skills through an observed teaching activity. During the interview process… Continue reading The SEND Interview Teaching Activity
Rewards and Natural Consequences
Personalisation and Purpose I am a fan of personalised reward systems as a way to achieve a very specific goal. As a behaviour modification strategy I have struggled to find a suitable system. I have found star charts or token economy systems a good way for some children to focus on expected behaviour. They can… Continue reading Rewards and Natural Consequences
Maths: Multisensory Activities for Teaching Big and Small
Maths: Big and Small Big and Small These concepts are generally taught together but we also use them to describe objects without a comparative object. "wow that's a big smile" "what a big yawn!". In fact, we throw around size-related mathematical language with scant regard to accuracy. "I've made a huge mistake." "You are a… Continue reading Maths: Multisensory Activities for Teaching Big and Small
Diversity: 3 Great Picture Books
Diversity in society is a really important topic to start addressing with children as soon as possible. This is especially true for children in a special school they are already marginalised in certain sections of society. I found these books when looking to resource our RSE curriculum which in primary has a real focus on… Continue reading Diversity: 3 Great Picture Books
5 Interactive Apps Geared Towards Special Needs Students
A guest post on great SEN apps. For many children access to school ended in March 2020 due to the coronavirus. Now that the spread is slowing down, however, they’re allowed to reopen fully. But a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Education Research found that 60% of school leaders feel ‘unprepared for some aspects of… Continue reading 5 Interactive Apps Geared Towards Special Needs Students
Control, Anxiety, and Oppositional Behaviour at Home and School.
All children have a tendency to display oppositional behavior at times. After 13 years working with children with Autism, ADHD, ODD and other needs I have seen a range of reasons for opposition. With my own children I can identify factors that can lead to oppositional behaviour. This doesn’t make it easier to deal with,… Continue reading Control, Anxiety, and Oppositional Behaviour at Home and School.
Quality of Life: Reducing Anxiety
The Value of Compassion This post is a reflection of the #SENexchange discussion on Quality of life and our favourite things. It took place during the Coronavirus crisis in April 2020. Our definitions of what education, life and security look like have been tested. Education was redefined overnight, the structures and routines we built over… Continue reading Quality of Life: Reducing Anxiety
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