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Age Appropriate Dilemma

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by Bethan73, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Bethan73

    Bethan73 New commenter

    Hello All

    I've recently jumped from Primary to Secondary SEND teaching (I have a mixed class of SLD students ranging from the old P2 to probably around P8). My class are Yr 10 and Yr 11 and I want to really really push myself to have an age appropriate focus this year.

    • I would like any guidance on good research reports, books, websites, etc that I can read.
    • Also any practical suggestions for the first week back would be great.
    • Plus any discussion on the problems that for example 2 off my students are obsessed with Mr Tumble, and that for some simply learning to engage with basic toys (which are obviously not age appropriate) would be a huge achievement - all thoughts welcome!
    Hope everyone has a great week back at school and thanks for your support,]
  2. oggs26

    oggs26 New commenter

    I think you need to find hooks for them, ive gone from smeh to asd p8-level 2 so im on a new journey too finidng it hard. Good luck - im doing getting to know you activities
    Bethan73 likes this.
  3. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    What a fantastic opportunity. Take it slowly, and get to know your students.
    Also, look at Jo Grace, sensory project web site for great ideas. Particularly look at on how to use and develop sensory stories. She writes a lot that are brilliant for the age and ability of your class. Her books will be particularly useful, especially the sensory stories one. The other one too if you can stretch to it.
    I taught this age and level for many years. I love it. They teach me so much, be ready for a steep learning curve! And keep in touch.
    Bethan73 likes this.
  4. Jo3Grace

    Jo3Grace New commenter

    Hello, my ears are burning!
    I am curious to know your motives for wanting to be completely age appropriate.
    There was a big drive towards age appropriateness in the early 90s, as a sign of respect for our students, they are not 'babies' just because they have a learning disability. This movement came from a big place, but it saw people who loved Thomas the Tank engine with all their heart being deprived of the thing they loved most in life so there was a kick back against it.
    I am not saying we should just stick with whatever it is that people like. The wonderful thing that the drive towards age appropriateness did was expose students to new things to love. If you love Thomas when you are 5 and so are given Thomas when you are 6, 7. 8,9 and so on then how do you ever get to discover that you also love Minecraft, and rock music and so on.
    The modern view is towards balance, if someone loves something, or simply has an interest in it, that is not age appropriate that is fine - I imagine this is something we all do. I myself love penny sweets, these are not a grown up thing but I still have plenty of them in my cupboard. I have friends with cuddly toys more suited to a children's room and don't get me started on lego and the men in my life!
    The important thing is not to deprive your students of their current interests but to offer them new experiences alongside those that offer them the opportunity to expand their world.
    It is not a case of being age appropriate, it is being person appropriate.

    Best wishes in your endeavours
    (And if you do want sensory stories about Minecraft, and reproduction or love stories, or even Victorian feminism do have an explore of my site.

    Jo Grace
    The Sensory Projects
  5. balletomane

    balletomane New commenter

    Thanks for that post, Jo. I have always been uneasy about the emphasis on being age-appropriate, due mainly to my personal experience - I have Asperger's Syndrome and as a teenager I was constantly having it explained to me that things I loved (skipping down the street, going on swings in the park) weren't quite right for someone of seventeen and that if I didn't want to get teased I should stop. What I didn't understand was why. Why should it be childish to enjoy motion in that way? I remember arguing with my SENCO in sixth form that if I were to take up smoking, people might judge it inadvisable, but they wouldn't be warning me that it was inappropriate as they did over the playground swings. And yet playground swings don't give you cancer.

    Now, a decade and a half further on, I'm better able to appreciate my old teachers' point of view. ;) But at the same time I still feel that it is limiting to try and confine anyone's education to the parameters of what's considered 'appropriate' to their age. It makes me think of the poem 'When I am Old I Shall Wear Purple'. We all need a dash of that freedom.
  6. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    :)I think spending all my money on brandy and saying I have non left for butter is very age appropriate!;)
  7. Bethan73

    Bethan73 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply - I've been doing what you suggest and just slowly expanding an interest so for example a few of my students love signing along to nursery rhymes - we are still doing this for maybe 2 songs and then teaching signing along to chart music - I will certainly check out your website and I appreciate your reply it was really helpful and thoughtful.
  8. Bethan73

    Bethan73 New commenter

    Thanks for your reply - very balanced and very insightful! I couldn't agree more . It's a complex issue and as with everything in education should really be child centred and based on that child not a set of rules / expectations. Thanks for sharing your experience and opinions! x
  9. zibidee

    zibidee New commenter

    I love this! Thank you! This is what I have been arguing with my school about since I arrived! They objected to me using the tune of 10 in the bed but with original circus themed lyrics for a maths activity. While I would love to have used a rock song for it, what are the chances of all the TAs knowing the tune and the students being able to understand the lyrics!
  10. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    Every year a local charity runs a Xmas party for SEN pupils (both primary & secondary). Our secondary SEN pupils (PMLD) love it even though it is aimed at a younger profile, with Santa, etc. So every year I am torn between the age appropriateness of this activity yet reluctant to let it go because they love it so much, what would you do?
  11. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    I'd go. Even adults enjoy a Christmas party with a Santa and gifts.

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