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Special Vs Mainstream?

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by MrsBee4812, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. MrsBee4812

    MrsBee4812 New commenter

    Hi all,

    as I’ve moved from mainstream to special school (and love it!) I’ve been asked to present to a group of teaching students about the difference between mainstream and special schools. This is the only information I’ve been given at the moment but I know that it’s for a whole afternoon!

    What would you cover if you were given a similar task? Just looking for a bit of inspiration and hoping not to miss out anything that would be valuable to them.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Jo3Grace

    Jo3Grace New commenter

    Ooo what a fantastic opportunity.

    I'd use it to do one big infomercial trying to persuade them all into this wonderful world.

    But...on a more practical note. I'd make it an interactive session where you aim mostly to teach them about your setting and to give them useful information they can use in mainstream.

    Ask them what achievement looks like in mainstream. What has it meant for them in their own life. Take answers.

    Then show a video or PowerPoint of your students achievements choosing those moments that are unique to special school settings.

    Explain that here we are learning our subjects and also the hidden curriculum. We are learning behaviour. We are learning how to deal with our condition

    That point about recognising behaviour as a skill to be taught is one that will be valuable to them in mainstream. A skill to be taught rather than a thing to be punished.

    Then share with them the joy and creativity of teaching such a diverse student population. Talk of how it can be a struggle to unify them. Now I expose my bias but I would do a sensory story with them here because they are such a wonderful resource. And invite them to have the experience by creating their own in groups. Work wisely and challenge them to create stories around themes you are currently teaching to and you will end up with some new sensory stories to use!

    Best wishes
    Jo Grace
    phlogiston, sparkleghirl and dzil like this.
  3. MrsBee4812

    MrsBee4812 New commenter

    Thank you @Jo3Grace excellent advice!
    Trust me it will be like one big infomercial
    I almost feel bad for my mainstream colleagues when I harp on about how much I love my job ❤️

    Thank you xx
    dzil and sparkleghirl like this.
  4. tmyers

    tmyers New commenter

    I'm teaching in a mainstream school and have for over 10 years, I am looking at moving into SEN, as I have always loved working with the SEN pupils, and often feel they are let down by the system. Anything I can do before I start applying, or any thing I need to be aware off?
  5. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    Arrange a visit . . . . we get to know quite a few people with similar thoughts over the years in Special Schools - some end up making wonderful colleagues and others just don't understand the level of need or the way in which we need to work. Even if it means using your PPA time, sort yourself a visit to your local special school
    MrsBee4812 and dzil like this.
  6. MrsBee4812

    MrsBee4812 New commenter

    @tmyers when I started at my school the HT said that people either loved or hated special school. As soon as I went to look around, before I even applied, I knew that I wanted to be there! We have many student teachers that experience special school for a few weeks. Many are surprised that we don’t just play and that we ‘teach proper lessons’. @R13 gave great advice, go and visit :)
    dzil likes this.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    In mainstream, you're governed by curriculum, academic targets and exams. It's not all bad, for a long time I loved the organisational challenges and the complexities.
    In a special needs setting, the people are important. Sometimes the curriculum has to take a running jump! You're often looking at small steps, instead of algebraic complexity, you're trying to get kids who count on their fingers to do division.
    It's different, it probably wouldn't have suited a younger me. I still enjoy my A level tutoring to teach hard stuff to an uncomplicated learner.

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