I intend to add to this excellent seminar:
- practical solutions to use in your lesson plans for students with SEN
- effective use of your TA
- how to work out the reading age of worksheets/textbooks
History: is about ‘becoming curious, thinking critically, developing moral sensitivity and communicating effectively’; it’s important that these objectives apply to the planning for all learners, including those with SEN. For younger learners especially, an understanding of ‘time’ itself can be a particular issue and might be a focus for some additional support.
Inclusive classrooms: Ensuring understanding of concepts is at the heart of effective teaching and there are generic strategies to help with this:
• clear explanations, using an appropriate level of language
• concrete examples, linked to previous learning/familiar contexts
• VAK input (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic)
• learning by doing
• checking understanding – careful questioning, asking the student to explain to a classmate, applying learning to a different context
• being prepared to go over something a second/third/fourth time – perhaps with the support of a TA.
History is traditionally a subject which involves a fair amount of reading writing and this in itself is a major source of difficulty for many pupils. Teachers can reduce barriers to achievement by:
• checking the readability of textbooks; making sure that books to be used are up to date, with a clear layout. Make sure pupils know how to use the Contents page and index. SMOG
• reading out loud from a text book – or asking a TA to do this with particular groups (avoid ‘reading around the class’ as this may embarrass poorer readers)
• using visual material when possible
• displaying word banks around the room, changing them to match the current topics
• providing easy-to-use dictionaries
• always allowing for plenty of thinking/talking time before asking pupils to write
• using writing frames to help pupils structure their work
• teaching them how to use mind maps
• encouraging pupils to use predictive text software (with training from TA)
• introducing a range of recording methods, eg posters, video recordings, voice recordings
• using TAs to act as scribes.
Involving pupils in the evaluation of their own work, and each other’s is a valuable strategy to use in encouraging them to redraft and improve their work, showing them how to use criteria and develop critical skills. A useful model of formative assessment might be as follows:
• Teacher explains what the pupils need to do to achieve their objective, providing criteria and possibly showing them a good example of completed work.
• Pupils do the work.
• They discuss in groups/pairs whether they have met the criteria.
• Ideas shared among the class.
• Constructive suggestions made by class members to help individuals/groups improve their work.
• Improvements/additions made.