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Time fillers

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by sarahlat89, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. sarahlat89

    sarahlat89 New commenter

    hi, I’m writing on behalf of my partner. He’s recently started training to be an sen college lecturer and is employed as an unqualified teacher. At the moment it is the induction period, and he is finding that his class of students finish induction activities quite quickly - lessons last an hour and 40, and he has time to fill. Induction lasts another two weeks!

    His class have a very large range of needs, including one student in a wheelchair, and one who is blind, as well as others who are academically more able but have social needs. He is finding it very difficult to think of activities he can use with the students to fill these times, that meet the needs of all of his students but would also be academically or socially beneficial. One day last week he used board games to fill this time, but was told that this would have been frowned upon if SLT had walked around. What kind of activities would be acceptable?

    Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
  2. balletomane

    balletomane New commenter

    Rather than thinking of activities to fill up the remaining time at the end, I would be thinking of ways to extend the activities he's already got. If students are finishing them too quickly, that suggests to me that the activities are too easy. I am also an unqualified teacher in SEN (social, emotional, and mental health difficulties in my case), and one thing I have been doing is making sure I have two variants of each activity I plan: a tougher version if the students need more of a challenge, and an easier version if they find the original too difficult and I need to dial it down. It also helps to have little extensions for activities - for example, I was looking at two poems with one girl, and she was so good at identifying the main themes and commenting on the poet's use of language that we still had twenty minutes to go when we'd finished doing that. I hadn't anticipated this, but I invited her to try and write a poem herself in the same style and form. That more than filled the time, and it allowed her to consolidate what she'd learnt and to show me just what a good grasp she had of the material. At this school we also build in reflection time at the end of every class, where students share what they think went well. (It's really lovely, because sometimes they compliment each other spontaneously, and in this kind of environment that matters.) Perhaps your partner could adapt this for his students.

    The teacher in the classroom next to mine is amazing in his use of time. I can hear him talking sometimes, and not a minute of the lesson is wasted. He never seems to be racking his brains thinking of what to do next. Sometimes I feel a bit daunted by just how good the other staff are, but then I remember that they've been doing this for years and I am new. I observe them with an eye to how they use the time (which your partner is probably already doing). He might not even be able to tell if one of their activities has ended earlier than anticipated, because the experienced staff are often so seamless in how they weave in extra things. That is the skill we're aiming for, but it will take time to get it. I look at what my students are studying in other areas in order to get ideas for supplementary activities that will reinforce everything they're doing, not just my subjects, and this is helping. For every class I know I have at least one or two things that I can bring out if it goes faster than I anticipated.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It's probably best for him to ask colleagues/line manager/mentor, as it needs to be what's acceptable to them. We don't know what the course is, or what is being covered in induction, or what the students' needs are. His colleagues may well have ideas and even resources, more focussed on preparing the students for what is coming. He could perhaps look at the induction activities themselves and find ways to make them last longer. If concentration spans are short, maybe a fairly open induction activity needs to be replaced by several activities which break it into parts, so that they end up taking longer over each aspect.
    Bethan73 likes this.

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