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Feeling ****...GCSE English for SEN students.

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by ALWatson, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. ALWatson

    ALWatson New commenter


    I teach in a SEN Specialist School for Autistic children. The children are all considered bright but need specialist help in achieving their GCSE's. I am trying to teach GCSE English (Lit and Lang) and it has been challenging to say the least. However, I feel that some students are making good progress and I really want to see all achieve. However, today I have had a wobbly day :(

    In one of my classes...the class I felt were doing the best, a student turned round to me and said that English is so boring (nothing new there) and that he had not understood any of my lessons all year, I was a **** teacher, I don't know how to teach and that I never help him. I have spent a lot of time presonalising resources in order to help everyone. I try and break things down, I have highlighted his work so that the answers for the questions are clearly seen in the text and I have tried to guide the students to analysing the text in small chunks. I have done a lot of other things that are ASD specific that I can't list and many of the Learning Mentors have said that my lessons are the most structured in the school and that I get the most out of students as a whole because of my practice.

    I think it is probably the text that are being studied as they are quite dry to begin with and these particular students tend to shy away from anything academic. What text do you find on the GCSE English spec work best for SEN (19th century). Do you have any suggestions in making the text more appealing?

    I know I shouldn't take it personally but it is hard to when you spend so much time trying to help them and it gets thrown back in your face.
  2. thecagedbird

    thecagedbird New commenter

    It sounds like he was just letting off steam, rather than a reflection of your teaching!

    What exam board do you do?
    phlogiston, Flanks and bonxie like this.
  3. ALWatson

    ALWatson New commenter

    It's AQA. I do think he's just saying these things as he is struggling and letting off steam but it is hard not to take it personally sometimes
  4. thecagedbird

    thecagedbird New commenter

    I know what you mean... students comments can be crushing.

    I like Great Expectations for a mixed group of students. I’ve taught Pride and Prejudice with a group of predominantly girls which went really well. Currently, my whole department teach A Christmas Carol (mainly because of it’s length). We’ve also taught The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which mainly students didn’t really enjoy.

    The 19th century novel can be tricky for some students especially when they think they don’t like Literature before you even begin.
  5. ALWatson

    ALWatson New commenter

    We are teaching Jekyll and Hyde at the moment but I have only just started and thought perhaps they would find A Christmas Carol easier. The Senior Learning Mentor that is attached to the class seems to think that the change of text wont make a difference as it will still take time to get into it. Do you know of any film resources that are good for teaching Jekyll and Hyde?
  6. thecagedbird

    thecagedbird New commenter

    No good film resources that I know of I’m afraid, but my school is very anti-film so there might be. (As a side note, I’m not personally anti-film and think it can be a really useful tool for some students).

    We found the first chapter of Jekyll and Hyde the hardest to engage and it got better once the students were able to get into the Jekyll/ Hyde part of the plot, so maybe sticking with it will work.

    I do find A Christmas Carol a lot easier for students to get into and quite easy to link to the author’s message which can enable students to engage.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I'm not a literature specialist, but do work with some ASD youngsters. The pressure builds and they don't mince their words. It's hard not to take it personally especially if you've put a lot of effort into personalisation.
    step back. Maybe once things have calmed go through the learners work and show him how he's learned over the last few months.
  8. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    [I now work with ASD but my last post was SEMH. We did AQA English (rather than Lang & Lit), I was preparing to do AQA Lang (& Lit) when they changed the spec, but it was a couple of years ago and then I moved schools, and new post does OCR, so I might be getting mixed up... But, for what it's worth:]
    With the SEMH cohort we used the prose anthology, due to length and variety. I think I was planning on introducing DNA on the new spec, due to it's content and length. For 19th Century I was planning on using A Christmas Carol, again because of length, not because it's the most engaging. But my colleague did Frankenstein and it apparently went down pretty well.
  9. PersianCatLady

    PersianCatLady Occasional commenter

    To be honest that was exactly how I felt about English at school (and probably would still do now if I bothered to think about it).

    I found English so pointless as there are no definite rights or wrongs.

    Give me maths any day!

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