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Ideas for student with low confidence/independence

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by gemmacraig5, May 3, 2018.

  1. gemmacraig5

    gemmacraig5 New commenter

    I have a secondary student who is struggling to work independently in lessons. The student asks significantly more questions than the rest of the class and demands a lot of the teacher's time; in addition to this, there seems to be anxiety over upcoming exams (not external).

    Does anyone have any suggestions of how to support the student and staff?
     
  2. carterkit

    carterkit Occasional commenter

    Hi,

    Are the questions about content or does your pupil need to check a lot that he/she is doing the thing right? If it is the latter then it sounds very similar to the difficulties a pupil with high-functioning ASD might have so this is the advice I would generally give a teacher.

    Regarding the questions, a task sheet with exact instructions broken down into steps should help and an example (WAGOLL) of the type of thing they are expected to produce. Think about giving them a task buddy as well. This is not a partner but someone who will check with them before they start independent work that they have understood what is required and who they can ask if they don't understand the task sheet. These should help both student and teacher.

    As to the anxiety that is far more difficult to help a child cope with. Detailed revision lists should help but also guidance on how to revise. Examples of the type of questions with model answers are important as well. Make sure they have seen the type of rubrik before and the answer booklet if appropriate. Think about a separate room for exams with the possibility of rest breaks and some type of de-stresser - bean bag, stress ball etc. For this the teacher could tell the pupil that they can talk about exams at another time but not in the lesson. As long as a definite time is agreed then this might help the situation in lessons.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I am assuming you have an LSA available to work with the student in question? I used to produce the necessary background information and guidance for the LSA that worked with the pupil(s) in advance of the lesson. They could then clarify anything they weren't too sure of with me before the lesson took place.

    If the LSA has been properly briefed, then often they may be able to help the student with their question. There will always be some things you need to sort out yourself, but using the LSA this way may help to reduce the amount of interruptions, and lessen the effect on the rest of the class.
     
  4. gogogulliver

    gogogulliver New commenter

    Think a lot about the feedback you're giving... are you rewarding that (low-confidence, nagging) behaviour? If the student is interrupting you with questions, try saying things like "I'm talking to the whole class now, I'll tell you when I'm ready to answer questions". If the student asks "What's blah blah?" or "How do I blah the blah" try questions like "How do you think you could find that out without asking someone?" or "Well, show me what your first step could be..." and find different ways of shutting it down before it escalates.

    If the student is very anxious, it might be that they worry more about getting a tick on their work than about learning how something works... so emphasising the "working out" step might be useful.

    Maybe a maths activity where you have to show your working out but not your answer would be good? Or a self-assessment where they identify what they've done right rather than what they have to improve on.

    Growth mindset models of feedback can be useful and have reasonably good academic backing (it's a bit buzzwordy and Carol Dweck knows how to market herself but there is research to back it up) as they're about challenging expectations and building confidence in ones ability to improve at a skill.
     

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