My work as an SEN English teacher:
. I have vast English teaching experience to SEN children. Any area where there is difficulty will be given more focus. Essential areas covered are:
- Grammar & Punctuation
- Creative Writing
- Spelling skills
I am also confident teaching pupils in English with autism, ADHD, PDA, working memory challenges, organisational difficulties, dyslexia, anxiety, self esteem issues, confidence and sensory processing difficulties.
My understanding of autism (and related conditions) including PDA, depression, ODD, anxiety):
I am conscious that other conditions can overlap an ASD diagnosis. As a result specific techniques are required, and a student needs empathy in every step of their learning. A high level of patience isessential at all times, in addition to giving a child more decision making opportunities, understanding their tolerance level, their anxiety and their trust issues.
Confidence/self-esteem building techniques:
I would always remind a child what they have achieved during each lesson and praise them for what they have done at various stages as the lesson progresses. I also believe that difficulties with self-esteem can overlap with independence challenges, and as a child starts to build their self-esteem through reassurance, their independence skills start to improve as they gradually learn to "help themselves" on many different levels without assistance as they learn.
My experience working with students with anxiety, independent learning difficulties, focus and organisational challenges:
I have a lot of work experience with children/young adults in groups/individually, focusing specifically on reading, spelling, writing and organisation skills. In addition I have spent a lot of time working with children who may have suffered anxiety due to their learning experiences. I have the patience, understanding and skills to deal with such difficulties, and I understand that SEN children often need a more "bespoke" approach. As such they often need a more practical "bite sized" approach with different techniques to help them firstly understand their difficulties, and then cope with their organisational and written skills, as well as other aspects of their learning. This in turn can reduce anxiety and bring them back to where they need to be, and with patience and slow steps forward, students can find more independence and confidence.
My experience teaching reading and phonics
: My first approach would be to assess exactly where the child is currently and where the specific challenges exist. Using the Jolly Phonics system, (a fun, child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics), I would work slowly through the 42 letter sounds, incorporating reading material each week that specifically revisits the sound we are focusing on. The 42 letter sounds are split into 7 groups, which makes it easy to follow, teach, learn and revisit.
I have had a lot of success using this method, and it is easily adaptable to all learning needs, as the pace, resources and delivery can be modified to suit the challenges of the child being taught.
I have worked with on intensive reading programmes to help SEN children overcome reading difficulties such as decoding, phonemic awareness, phonics, and learning graphemes/phonemes, whilst always incorporating the importance of reading comprehension. I have used various age appropriate word games/ techniques to enhance reading skills as well as to increase confidence in their approach to reading.
My experience teaching engaging/bespoke sessions:
I find out the specifics about the pupils that I work with, in order to tailor lessons to suit them. I like to keep my lessons interactive and use brainstorming and additionally storyboard techniques for primary pupils. I also use a lot of visual resources within lessons, to help keep a student engaged, whilst bearing in mind their sensory needs. Time is given to each lesson plan before it takes place to factor in a pupil's specific requirements to ensure that the session that is given is accessible, engaging and interactive, both in terms of resources, educational content and delivery.
I use specific spelling strategies which are very effective, as the technique allows a spelling to be broken down and then be learnt in stages, before being put together as whole word. Words are separated into groups of letters, grouped by both myself and the child, and then learnt in sections, phonetically. I have found this approach to be very useful, and helps students with spelling challenges not only to learn, but remember spellings.
Techniques for pupils with speech difficulties, communication, language and behavioural challenges.
For children with communication problems, I would keep my language more "stripped back", repetitive, and slow paced. I would pause regularly to ensure everything is understood. I have developed many social stories and time out strategies for children who may suffer with emotional, language, communication and behavioural difficulties, and can help them to adapt to different situations. I have worked with many speech therapists throughout my career which has given me a lot of invaluable skills regarding how to assist students with speech difficulties.
Ability to show empathy and awareness:
Having experienced many SEN settings I have encountered children with school phobia and have a great empathy with children in situations who are experiencing any level of anxiety due to school culture. I have a great understanding of students from differing backgrounds with a range of SEN. Through private tutoring together with my experience in educational settings I have spent the past 3 decades on a continual learning curve understanding the challenges a child across the age groups with SEN faces, and have as such found excellent strategies to help them progress. Having gathered a lot of empathy skills as a teacher puts me in an excellent position to pass on this depth of awareness to the pupils with whom I work.
Assisting with homework, study skills and exam techniques (particularly those facing challenges with executive functioning skills):
Having worked with many pupils who are approaching SATS, 11+ exams, GCSE's and post 16 exams, I have had a lot of experience in helping students organise their homework and prepare for their exams. This has been in the following areas: time management, organisation, prioritising, planning ahead, planning long or short-term projects or assignments, modifying notes in preparation for revision, creating study visuals for revisional purposes, setting goals, checking work and establishing good routines and habits.
I understand that an autistic child's view of the world can be very different to other people; their world can be seen very literally by comparison, and that a learning activity needs to be delivered in smaller sections as it is not always easy to recall a given sequence of tasks. Such children frequently socially interact in a specific way, and require a lot of empathy regarding their emotional needs. I have gathered a lot of experience in teaching autistic children, particularly in English, focusing on their functional, communication and social skills. Lessons have been geared towards helping pupils easily access tasks, whilst gathering confidence and independence, alongside learning all areas of the language as set out by the national curriculum.
Working with dyslexic students
: I believe that a specific learning programme along with emotional support is the best way forward. Different strategies can have a huge effect, including: reading aloud to improve accuracy, explaining a topic to someone else to "teach" them, so reinforcing the topic, create and consistently extend a vocabulary of regular words (for different subjects), using scaffolding techniques to break tasks down and make them more accessible, following a specific learning agenda/plan.
My experience teaching English and Maths Functional Skills
I have developed a full programme of English Functional Skills at high school level which is adaptable for all levels of SEN. I have used this programme with high school children both with and without SEN. I have taught maths functional skills to primary school children.
I have worked with year 6 children in English on comprehension and compositional skills. I have specifically used Exam Papers Plus to test pupils' skills in preparation for exams.
Working towards independence:
I would consider it a priority to understand the background and SEN of a pupil, and use extreme empathy at all times, keeping a full awareness that a child's SEN can be due to many factors which could be related to physical or mental health, illness, genetics, background, cultural or political factors. Bearing all this in mind I would strive within each lesson to give a student as many independent learning opportunities as possible, whilst always factoring in the child's specific SEN.
Most importantly, I would take each lesson as it evolves, and not have pre planned expectations of what will be achieved. I am aware that a child with SEN has differing factors that can effect their ability to learn. As such I feel it is important to be open to the possibility of variation each day, and hence would not enter a lesson with any preconceived thoughts or anticipation about how the lesson will evolve.
My specialist experience teaching children with ADHD, ADD, dyspraxia and ODD:
I have taught many children who have experienced problems with concentration whilst working, portray defiant techniques and have used many effective strategies that would lift, encourage and motivate them and whilst keep them on task. I currently work with children with these challenges. I am aware that such difficulties are ongoing and need to be targeted continually, but with empathy and understanding, using variable approaches, that are appropriate for the particular child.
How I work:
When first meeting a new pupil I would always assess exactly what their needs are and evaluate the difficulties being encountered. This would be a 3 way process involving myself, the child and parent/guardian (plus the school if appropriate.) My plan would then be to decide what the best learning approach would be, and how I would use various multi sensory resources, ideas, techniques to help the child move forward. I frequently use mind maps in my approach, as I believe this is a tangible way to breakdown a concept and understand it on different levels. I would also use mind maps and other techniques to help a child process language breakdown, evaluating the meaning and use of language that could appear confusing, whilst incorporating visuals where appropriate, rather than standard techniques and resources that may appear in the mainstream. I would also aim to give the child as much learning independence as possible during each session, so that their confidence potential would be developed.
Teaching and interacting with children/young people brings out the best in me as an individual. I feel I have great interaction skills with young people, as well as an appropriate level of humour when required. I have a speciality for modifying work for SEN children and have modified worksheet packs across the curriculum both at primary and secondary level. I am fully aware that many children do not best respond to the mainstream method of education and need something different and I have the skills to adapt to different children's needs. I have an abundance of patience, understanding and effective communication which I believe have been highly instrumental in the success I have had historically with many SEN pupils. My testimonials from past and present students convey my ability to inspire children and and help them through challenges. I know that I would bring a great energy to any learning situation I was placed into, and am adaptable and versatile to differing situations and environments.
Experience with professionals such as Educational Psychologists, Speech & Language Therapists and Educational Social Workers,
and have received speech therapy training to conduct sessions for ASD primary KS1, which I have been able to successfully put into practice. My work with SLT and other professionals includes many schools, past recent and present, including my recent post at a Primary School in Acton and my most recent post at a Primary School in Gloucester Road. My experience of running reading intervention programmes has proven invaluable. I keep close and continual assessments of the children with whom I work. I find this to be crucial when monitoring progress and also when reviewing a child's needs which is essential for an SEN child. Having worked with children with various verbal challenges, I have gathered a lot of experience teaching young people from early years to age 18 who are non-verbal (ASD), selective mute, and children with various verbal abilities.
I am confident in writing and reviewing IEPs and find them invaluable in the educational experience of any child. I have spent a lot of time working with external agencies that support SEN and as such have taken a lot of their expertise which has helped me understand a child's mindset, abilities, difficulties, potential red flags, and overall has contributed towards a much more sophisticated and developed approach to my teaching technique.