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The Curious Teacher - Lecture on SEND for the University of Roehampton

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by JulesDaulby, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    I had the pleasure of giving a lecture to trainee teachers at the University of Roehampton last week. I called it 'The Curious Teacher' because I wanted to emphasise both the potential to find strategies if you identify the need (via being curious) and also how being a little curious yourself can often enable students with differences to flourish.

    Let me know what you think.

    I would like to thank Jo Nugent, Senior Lecturer in Professional Studies at Roehampton for inviting me to talk and the trainee teachers who were great listeners and contributors in discussion. For this talk, I also had some fascinating conversations with some Twitter colleagues, Rachel Rossiter, SENCO of a middle school, Nancy Gedge, author of 'The Inclusive Primary School' and Jarlath O'Brien, Headteacher of a special school and author of 'Don't Send Him in Tomorrow'.

    Attached Files:

    needabreak and Dodros like this.
  2. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Thanks, very interesting.
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Yes, I agree, a very interesting presentation that covers many of the bases when it comes to SEND.

    I too am a big fan of curiosity as a way of identifying and addressing needs and it's very important not to jump to conclusions when chancing upon successes along the way. On my website I have a cautionary tale about a case where a student appeared to succeed in demonstrating very good listening comprehension when closer observation revealed that his success was due instead to an excellent visual memory. Read more by visiting
    and accessing the 2013 document "Meeting Special Educational Needs in Technology-Enhanced Language Teaching: Learning from the Past, Working for the Future" under "Books and Articles". The fifth lesson "Observe and verify" and the sixth lesson "Research, develop and network" encapsulate my thoughts on the matter.

    A SEND teacher's curiosity should also extend to student performance in areas of the curriculum other than the core subjects English and Maths. From I my secondary school's SEND department, I taught French and German to students with SEND for many years and I am happy to admit that along the way I learned plenty from my charges about teaching, learning and removing barriers to both. A teacher finds out so much more about the educational process while working with learners in difficulty.

    Listening to others is a prerequisite to being a good SEND teacher. That means patiently finding out what the student, the parents, the outside agencies, the classroom assistants, the Geography or Music teacher, the feeder school SENCO and everybody else working with the student has to say. By listening to others, we gain others' confidence and encourage them to share those precious commodities of information and knowledge. And if we need to look further afield for a solution to a particularly knotty problem, there is indeed the TES SEND forum to pour our minds and hearts out to. Let's not forget too that hugely helpful and long-lived discussion group SENCO Forum that is still alive and kicking from the years before the dawn of the new millennium, set up because many SENCOs back then and to some extent still now, work on their own and need peer support to do their jobs. The resulting "horizontal cascading" of knowledge and information is immensely empowering and subverts those members of the school management team who may wish to ration whatever they "vertically cascade" to other members of staff. They are well aware that knowledge is power! :)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  4. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    If anybody is truly curious about special needs, feel free to give us a ring.

    I can tell you stories till the cows come home(I grew up in the countryside).

    Circus Kevin
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  5. Lynn16

    Lynn16 New commenter

    I like the approach of being curious. I've always been curious about how children learn, adapt and work things out, especially when they have SEND. It's good to remind student teachers that being curious is good for them. (Lynn @ReachoutASC)
  6. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Very succinct and useful, thank you for sharing.

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