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Yr. 9, SEN Class room advice/hepl!

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Gefion, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. I am an English teacher in a small independent school and my new year 9 group will be a part of the new GCSE Curriculum. My entire class which consists of approx 6 students are all special needs. One of the students has an assistant as he has selective mutism. Another student has severe ADHD and the students parent will be in all lessons. This is something new to me and I am a little concerned as I have not taught with a parent in class before, nor have I had an all special needs group. The parent is also very nervous and I could do with some advice on this whole issue.
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Students with special educational needs usually come with a well documented educational history which can benefit your planning. Familiarise yourself with what has been done previously to meet their needs and pay particular attention to any recommendations in the reports of outside professionals such as educational psychologists, who will have based their findings on in-depth objective assessments. Look for students' strengths in such paperwork, not just their weaknesses, and make sure you have foreknowledge of any potential triggers of undesirable behaviour.

    I presume that you will not be alone in preparing this group for their journey towards GCSE because they will also be following courses in subjects other than English. Find out what your colleagues in Maths, Science etc are doing; they may have the same misgivings as you or they may have solutions they are prepared to share. The literacy skills taught and learnt in English lessons will also be developed in other subjects, so it is in everybody's interests to collaborate across the curriculum for the sake of the students. Your school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator should also be playing a role in all this, as it is his or her job to advocate for such vulnerable learners.

    As for the presence of a parent in the class, it is important to agree precisely what role you and that parent will play in everyday classroom routine. Some discussion beforehand will be essential to lay the general groundrules as well as to fine-tune the content and presentation of individual lessons. Remember that the parent is there to help and will have a stake in the success of each lesson; this is not a quasi-inspectorial observation. As a former linguist, I would quite often have a Foreign Language Assistant in my lesson and that took a little getting used to until I stopped being self-conscious about it and saw how fortunate I was to have a non-threatening subject-knowledge specialist within my class who would enrich the lesson by their presence and double the number of students who could be helped.

    You may see everything associated with this class as a challenge for the present. Rest assured that if you approach everything in an open-minded way it will turn instead into an opportunity that will provide you with strategies that will also benefit your other classes.

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