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teaching SEN and lesson observations for Performance Management.

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by indiathecat, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. I would appreciate feedback from others who go through lesson observations and are SEN teachers, or anyone who has positive suggestions!

    I am a SEN teacher in a Mainstream Secondary school with a 0.4 contract. I also have a 0.4 contact as an outreach teacher for a PRU.

    For my PRU job my lesson observations have always been graded as 'good' or 'outstanding'. In my mainstream job I have mostly been graded as 'satisfactory' and when that grading disappeared, consistently the grading has been 'inadequate'. I requested another observer and I was graded as 'outstanding'. Notice the difference between jobs and between observers in the same school.

    This week I have just received feedback from the last observation. Although the word 'inadequate' was not mentioned, I have to repeat the observation so obviously the lesson was inadequate. The pupils observed were the lowest set from Year 8 English. I have the task of teaching them Romeo and Juliet. I chose to teach metaphors and similes from the play. It was an interactive activity with students matching the original text to the modern text and definitions of the metaphors and similes. It took me two days over half term to make the resources. To demonstrate progress the students had to decide whether it was a metaphor or simile and to explain their decision in a bullet point. This was quite a hard task for students with learning difficulties but some progress was demonstrated and all students were engaged for the whole lesson. They enjoyed it. These students cannot read the original text or gain meaning from it. To ensure they could engage with the text I provided the excerpts in the modern text which they semi understand. They used Post Its to provide feedback on what they had learned and gave examples of their own metaphors and similes.

    My feedback states that not enough progress was demonstrated. I was criticised for making the students copy out the metaphors and similes as OFSTED would not approve of that task. However I argue that it was the only way I could show evidence that the students had engaged with the text. Verbal engagement is not easy to record.

    I am not asking for preferential treatment as a teacher of SEN but there has to be some reality taken into account of these students difficulties.

    I presented assessment data to the observers on spelling ages, reading ages, English Nation Curriculum levels, FSM and PP. I also added that all these assessments would be repeated at the end of the intervention to assess progress. These students may show only a small amount of progress in one lesson or even none at all. Over a period of time, hopefully there will be progress.

    Could you give me any advice on the following two aspects.

    1. What data do you submit for lesson observations and is it taken into account so that the judgement is realistic? What other data could I add?

    2. If you extract students from other lessons, which faculty leader is most likely to give permission for you to extract students from their subject?

    It is planned that in future we extract only from English. This has been agreed with the faculty leader on condition that we shadow the English Curriculum. I have pointed out that these children need a specialist programme of phonics. Shakespeare is not a suitable vehicle for teaching phonics.

    Grateful for any feedback.
  2. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    SEND ? - would help if you were more specific.

    Never extracted from core.MFL was a 'popular ' choice for withdrawal . Also PSHCE / tutor period / subjects negotiated with the student.Intervention can be a nightmare to timetable so imperative that the outcomes justify the exclusion. Colleagues can be very precious about curriculum time but should not need convincing that reading and spelling crucial and should take priority.

    I get the AFL refs. Maybe you needed to make ' progress ' more obvious - more show what you know during the lesson ( white boards, thumbs up / down / think pair share ) . Not about data but developing confidence and capacity to learn but ......if it's not in the culture of the setting ...,? Your observers - were they unhappy about your learning objectives / questioning techniques . You need to make the students thinking ' visible ' . From what you have written if you had asked ' what do you know now that you didn't an hr ago ? ' .... you might have felt justified in expecting positive feedback re ' progress '

    Agree that copying is to be avoided . Does not demonstrate engagement . Just bad practice. Pre printed sheets / cut and paste / highlighting ?

    Agree about the nature of ' progress ' - rarely linear with student who have spikey profiles and whose performance can be erratic / influenced by many other factors.

    I am not an English specialist - other colleagues will help I am sure
  3. Thanks Minnie me. I will try the tack of making progress more obvious by making the students thinking more visible. The students did use mini white boards, think, pair, share and also recorded 'what I found easy', 'what I found difficult' 'what I have learned today', 'what I would like to know next' and their own examples of metaphors and similes on an A3 sheet with Post It's. There was 100% engagement for the whole lesson from students with low spelling and reading ages. Behaviour was excellent. (One student is on the autistic spectrum, has ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Feedback comment was on the extremely positive teacher/student relationship and 'those students would do anything for you', (except demonstrate the ability to articulate their learning and perform to order like seals when a fish is flung in their direction)

    In reviewing that last caustic comment, isn't this the nub of the matter. These students have specific learning difficulties. They can't do this to order but they may be able to do it to some extent over a period of time. When observing SEND students, should there be a broader criteria taken into consideration? Hence my question about other data I could submit to evidence my teaching has supported progress made, but over a period of time and not always a hugely visible amount during the course of a lesson.

    Learning objectives were on the white board. Each one was written in a different colour as in good dyslexic practise and in student friendly language. I have no ICT and no interactive whiteboard.

    Isn't there a saying which runs roughly like 'from the mouths of babes you get the truth' ?? They ask me ' why do we have to come out of English for extra English Miss'? Even worse one of their extraction lessons is from an Accelerated Reading session. I have always spent a lot of time over the timetable extracting students from MFL, PHSE and sometimes Humanities where the literacy overload is a barrier for them in KS3. I have made good relationships with heads of faculties and negotiated extraction times and been very flexible. Most appreciate that literacy is essential for success across the curriculum.

    Thank for your input.
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    It sounds to me that your practice and rationale are spot on. I have always found that having the understanding and the support of the leadership team is imperative to valuing the performance of students with SEND in the wider context too social, personal, emotional growth but as these are often difficult to ' judge ' they go unacknowledged.Strap lines / mission statements of schools often amuse me , alluding to appreciating and promoting what the individual has to offer when the reality is the acquisition of targets, grades, percentages and latterly numbers ( at all / any cost ).

    I would like to hear somone justify the extraction from Accelerated Reader or read the policy docs which support it !

    Good Luck.

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