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Learning Support Assistant Job Interview, Desperately need help!!

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by selenozbek1, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. selenozbek1

    selenozbek1 New commenter

    Hi everyone, such an amazing forum this is. Just discovered yesterday and been reading through threads for my interview on friday. I have my first interview coming up for LSA role supporting pupils with SEND, I am so nervous!! I want to do this right but the email says the interview will last 4.5 hours, will involve preparing to deliver a small group Literacy activity to 3 Year 7 students with low literacy skills not meeting age related expectation on any form of Literacy. Has anyone got any advice about this? What to do-not to do?

    There's also formal interview part, I prepared many examples from my experience etc. but struggled to find right answers for couple of questions:

    · How do you assess and report progress?
    · What is your understanding of supporting high-quality teaching and learning?
    · What is your understanding of your role in effective performance management?
    · Give me an example of when you've had a rude student who refused to cooperate. (really appreciate if you have examples on that)

    · How would you contribute to the wider community?
    · What do you think are the main differences between supporting a small group of pupils with SEN and supporting an individual child with complex needs?
    · The pupil you are supporting is disruptive during a lesson. They are putting off or distracting other children in the class. Which is most important in that situation? Is it the needs of the pupil you are supporting? The needs of the other pupils? or The teacher’s ability to continue with the lesson?
    · The pupil you are supporting has completed a particular section of learning, but you notice that another pupil with SEN is struggling with it. Would you offer support to the other pupil, even if it meant leaving your pupil while you moved to another desk?
    - What would you do if a child was bored?
    · What do you think is the best way to motivate pupils? (I know there's explicit rewards like sweets but I feel like there must be sth internal?!)
    · Some people say you should demand respect from children. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. MissMinton

    MissMinton New commenter


    For the literacy session, what they'll most want to see is how you interact with the children. Show patience; be kind and warm; offer praise early and often; speak slowly and clearly; give clear instructions (it's a good idea to repeat them, write them on a white board, or have the children repeat them to you).

    If anyone refuses to work, don't assume they are just being contrary: maybe the task is beyond them or they need time to process. Allow time to process instructions and begin tasks--even up to a full minute. If the task is too hard, you can try breaking it up into smaller tasks; giving sentence starters or vocabulary suggestions; giving them a mini white board to practice on; guiding them with simple questions. If they finish faster than you expect, expand by asking them to suggest other words for something, use new vocabulary in a sentence, or consider the meaning behind something.

    As for the questions, there's a lot to look at there, but here's some key ideas:

    An LSA's assessment of progress is going to be based on what you see. What can they do now that they couldn't before? Can they do it independently? With support? How does this match with your/the teacher's objectives?

    Your job is to help pupils with special needs to access the curriculum. That means supporting where reading or writing skills are weak, providing one to one help, letting the teacher know about issues and strategies that work, and often, providing emotional support to unhappy or angry children with low self esteem. Your role is pastoral as well as academic; it's the nature of working with vulnerable pupils.

    The pupils' needs--all of them--and paramount. You and the teacher work as a team to meet them. Sometimes that means removing a child from a situation where they are not learning and are preventing the learning of others; when that happens, someone needs to speak with the pupil and resolve the situation. Sometimes that's you, sometimes it's a teacher, sometimes it's a Head of Year. The teacher will guide you as to what's needed, and soon you'll get a feel for it yourself.

    The issue of moving to support other pupils depends entirely on what the teacher wants/needs from you. Personally, I would always move to help anyone who needed it; my SENCo hates "velcro TAs" who stick to one pupil all the time and encourages us to help anyone who needs it, SEN or not. Some teachers may feel differently. This is about communication with the teacher.

    When children are bored or unmotivated, your presence is an important tool. Be warm, funny, and encouraging, or firm and no-nonsense as your intuition tells you. You'll learn what works and what doesn't. It's about knowing each child as an individual; there is no magic wand. Rewards like stickers and sweets can work, but the most effective and lasting reward is your regard and praise.

    You should demand respect in the sense that you enforce certain boundaries: they cannot swear at or be verbally aggressive with you without fair, calmly issued consequences. But if by demanding respect, you mean expecting perfect obedience and reacting harshly to any infraction, that is unrealistic and ineffective in our line of work. There are lots of reasons why children disobey, some related to needs like processing delays, social delays, emotional regulation issues, and a thousand other things. You need to ensure that your definition of respect is within each child's capabilities. Again, you have to know the child, and be cautious and kind while you are learning about them.

    Phew. I hope all of that helps! Good luck with your interview!
  3. selenozbek1

    selenozbek1 New commenter

    Thanks MissMinton, really appreciate your comments! Time pressure is killing me but I'll do my best shot! x

    Is reading a short story (half page) and asking questions good idea for the task? I could then ask them to describe the story with their body?
  4. MissMinton

    MissMinton New commenter

    Oh gosh, I didn't realise you had to plan the task--thought you were just delivering. A half-page to a page story in a large, rounded font, 1.5-spaced, should be about the right level. It might seem short, but you'll have a chance to work with detail. Use an extract from a children's/YA book, maybe?

    A movement activity could be good! They might be too shy/reluctant, though, depending on how well they know each other and get on, so be prepared for that. I might also have them do a little writing, like continuing the story or using some vocabulary from it in a sentence or two of their own.

    Post how it goes afterwards!
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Wow, this sounds like some interview!!! I don't have any experience of working with very low level Year 7 children, but my gut feeling is that, for the purpose of the interview and 'getting them on your side' you want to do something they can succeed with. If you have no idea how low their levels actually are, it could be very tricky. I might consider reading a picture book with them, like 'Voices in the Park' by Anthony Browne. There's so much you can get from the illustrations and lots to talk about - you will find planning ideas you could adapt on-line. Good luck with the interview, let us know how it goes.
  6. selenozbek1

    selenozbek1 New commenter

    Thanks everyone, I got the job!! :) principal said they were really impressed.

    However HR is being a bit annoying as I'm not a UK citizen and she has no idea about immigration rules, she kept challenging me while I was talking about rules for my visa. I emailed the laws with documents to principal and hr manager but I'm really scared if that's a deal breaker, though Principal reassured me that it won't change anything. Just HR doesn't know what to do and I explained, she doesn't have the right in my employment, right?
  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Congratulations! You must've done really well at the interview. I'm sorry, I know zero about immigration rules but I hope they get it sorted for you.
  8. MissMinton

    MissMinton New commenter

    Well done! I hope the immigration stuff gets sorted.

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