Specialist Experience and Skills
General experience of teaching students with SEN (Special Educational Needs) including those with autism, ADD/ ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety and/or depression, dyspraxia, challenging behaviour, PDA, processing and memory issues, cerebral palsy and Global Delay: Developing my awareness of Special Educational Needs (SEN) is something I am constantly doing. I have attended many courses including: Makaton, Autism Awareness and Supporting Pupils with Dyslexia. All of these courses have given me a good understanding of working with SEN children. I use a variety of skills when working with SEN students to he... Read More
General experience of teaching students with SEN (Special Educational Needs) including those with autism, ADD/ ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety and/or depression, dyspraxia, challenging behaviour, PDA, processing and memory issues, cerebral palsy and Global Delay: Developing my awareness of Special Educational Needs (SEN) is something I am constantly doing. I have attended many courses including: Makaton, Autism Awareness and Supporting Pupils with Dyslexia. All of these courses have given me a good understanding of working with SEN children. I use a variety of skills when working with SEN students to help them engage in their learning. I allow them to become the teacher and this enables the student to show what they have learnt without realising they are learning. I have recently taught in an Alternative Provision school, Pupil Referral Units and Special Secondary School for children with for children with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (including mental health). The children I taught had complex issues and were diagnosed with ADHD, Autism and Global Delay. Although these were challenging positions I was able to engage the children in the learning through using all the skills I have developed as a teacher.
Experience with supporting children with autism: Being a parent of a child with Autism I am able to empathy with other parents of children with similar learning needs. I have been very fortunate in that I have taught many children with autism of differing ages and severity. This experience has given me an excellent understanding of the differing issues that children with autism face. I have taught children with autism within a class setting and also 1 to 1 within their own home. This has given me a great insight into how settings can make a big difference when teaching autistic children. Providing them with a familiar setting that they are comfortable with is vital. Having an understanding of communication is of the upmost importance when supporting autistic children. I recognize the need for simple instructions that focus the learning in stages. I know that overbearing, a child with autism, with instructions will not work and will undoubtedly lead to a breakdown and refusal to complete any learning. By recognizing the child's needs and focusing on systematic approach, that takes each step individually, I can overcome the barriers to learning.
Experience with supporting children with PDA (demand avoidance behaviour) and other behaviour issues: Having previously taught in a SEMH school I learnt a variety of skills to help support students with PDA and other behaviour issues. Planning ahead is key when supporting students with PDA. By doing so I am able to anticipate any potential issues that may arise that might cause a trigger. I also inform the student of what is going to happen (through the use of visual timetables) and involve them in my planning. This gives them a sense of control and ownership of their learning. Paying attention to the child's triggers is vitally important. I will constantly monitor the child to ensure that their stress levels are kept to a minimum to avoid triggering an issue whenever possible. When I feel that there is potential to trigger avoidance I will change the focus onto something the child finds interesting or is showing an interest in. When dealing with a child that is in crisis I use a variety of deescalation techniques which I have learnt from training in Teamteach. I use over-talking, I give instructions as to what I would like to happen rather than what I would like to stop and I will also use physical prompts.
Experience supporting students with anxiety: Having the experience of teaching in Specialist schools for students with mental health issues is of great value to me when supporting students with anxiety and/or depression. I will give time and space, a break from the situation and even a change of scenery. I often take the student outside to kick a ball or throw it to one another, while doing so start a conversation which will gradually lead to a discussion about the child's anxiety. I play mindfulness game that focus on building self esteem. I often share stories of how I have overcome a time when I felt like I couldn't get things right. I also praise positive behaviours and use positive reinforcement. I talk about them in a positive manner and list all the things they are good at. Most importantly I give them time and space.
Experience of supporting children with ADHD: Being a parent of a child with ADHD I can empathise with other parents and the challenges they and their child face. As a result I have built up a list of tactics I use to support a child with ADHD. I’m quite a laid back person with a relaxed attitude which resonants to the child. They become aware of the relaxed nature I work in which helps them feel co for table and at ease. I always have a position attitude and look for the positives in the children I work with. By focusing on their positive and ignoring the negative behaviour, I find children natural want praise and attention which they only get through the positive choices they make. I set routines which are easily managed through lots of tasks with small breaks. This helps keep the child focused. Again this methods are open to interpretation as if I notice a child is really engaging I will continue the activity until I notice their attention is starting to slip. Then it’s time for a change. Most importantly it’s about being realistic in what I expect the child to achieve and make the goal reachable.
Experience of supporting students with Dyslexia: Whilst working as a mainstream teacher, early on in my teaching career, I attended a course on recognizing dyslexia. As I went into the training I was of the understanding that someone with dyslexia mixed their words around when spelling and would often misspell a word but use the correct letters. After the training I realized that there is so much more to recognizing someone with dyslexia. I was then able to focus on the students in my class that I hadn't realized could potentially have dyslexia. I then communicated my concerns to parents and the SENCO at the school and from this we were able to apply for a diagnosis which confirmed my belief. From this point on I looked more and more into understanding dyslexia and attended more courses on supporting students. As a result of my training I was able to move into teaching at special educational needs schools, where my understanding has grown. I am a member of the British Dyslexia Association and subscribed to their publishment, which is a great source of information.
Taking a Holistic approach: Throughout my teaching career I have always taken a holistic approach. By doing so I am able to engage the student in their learning. I look at the child and their interests, needs and wants and adapt them into their learning. I aim to meet all their emotional and social needs in order to get the best results possible. I consider how they feel about a certain area of their learning and how best to adapt this to suit their approach. The best method I use is a project approach or topic based learning. I also use outdoor learning which develop new skills which the child may not have been familiar with. I feel by taking this approach gets the best out of the student as they become more engaged in their learning.
Developing a meaningful relationship, enhance engagement and building up self-esteem with students with autism, ADHD, demand avoidance, dyslexia and other SEN: I feel self-esteem is crucial to the development of a positive attitude to learning, my teaching provides students with a secure, stimulating learning environment in which they can build their confidence by enjoying their learning and taking risks in an encouraging setting; they feel secure in their learning and this raises self-esteem. I pride myself in creating an enjoyable learning environment in which all children are given equal opportunity to achieve and make positive contributions. By teaching this way the children become more engaged in the lessons and active, rather than passive, learners. The feedback I have received from Ofsted, staff, parents and pupils has been complimentary and it has been commented that I have a “natural and relaxed teaching style” whilst at the same time “making learning engaging and exciting”, which makes learning a pleasurable and fun experience for all concerned. In previous roles in specialist schools I was the facilitator of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. I would plan activities that would fulfill the criteria of the award but also build up the self esteem of the students. In the past I have taken students rock climbing, which some students found difficult, but with support from all the people involved they were able to overcome their fears and climb the wall. This had a massive impact on building up their self esteem. They suddenly realised they could achieve if they focused. Communication is key in building up self esteem and sharing experiences. Not just speaking but listening is just as important. Listening to their fears and what causes them to have low self esteem. By doing so I begin to understand why they feel the way they do and then I can relate that to my own experiences. I often share my experiences that have been negative but how I was able to overcome them. This gives them hope that they won't always feel they way they do.
Experience of teaching in Early Years and Primary, English and Maths: Being an Advanced Early Years trained teacher which I studied for my PGCE, I feel I have an excellent understanding of the Foundation stage. I have taught Reception, Year 1 and 2 children for many years. I have an excellent understanding of Phonics and taught Parent/Carer workshops on the Phonics and Early Reading as a Primary Teacher. I know how important Early years are in a child's education as they lay the foundations for all the learning that happens afterwards and without this secure foundation the learning will suffer. My teaching style whilst teaching in Reception was similar to a children's television presenter. I make the lessons fun so that the child enjoys their learning and doesn't realise they are learning. This makes them more engaged in their learning. I play lots of educational games and make the lessons as interactive as possible. In a previous teaching position I taught the children the different punctuation through Kung Fu. We created a different action for a full stop, comma, question mark etc. This help with early writing as they understood the need to punctuate sentences. The development of reading comes from an understanding of Phonics. During my time as an Early Years teacher I have followed many different Phonics programs from Jolly Phonics to Read Write Inc. I follow the programs as they are set out to achieve the goals in a linear style. Through a systematic approach the children begin to learn and understand. Alongside an effective phonics program I taught early reading. This initially began in the form of reading without words. The child would describe the picture in the book and put it into words. They in essence became the teacher. They would read the story to me telling me what they believed was happening from the pictures alone. From this I would move onto simple sentences that follow the graphemes and phonemes they had been learning in their phonics lessons. The children would then sound out words they were unfamiliar with. Once the word had been sounded out correctly I would draw their attention to the new word as it would more than often be repeated in the book. If they had to sound out the same word again I would return to the word at the beginning of the book to demonstrate it is the same word. By doing this the children understand more quickly that they don't have to sound out all new words once they have read it correctly once. To build up reading comprehension I ask lots of open questions about the book and story. For example what might happen next? How would you feel if that happened to you? Have you had a similar experience? Etc. This helps the child to develop their reading comprehension skills so that they are correctly placed on The Simple View of Reading. Teaching numbers at this stage is based on number recognition. The child needs to understand that the number 4 is represented by 4 items and the number 7 is represented by 7 items. To do this I teach using objects that the children can hold. By have a concrete object the learning is meaningful and has a purpose as numbers can be quite abject unless used alongside an object. Once the child has developed the understanding of numbers then using mathematical operations can take place. Again this will always be done alongside objects or images and where possible related to real life experiences. For example buying things from a shop. Counting balloons at a birthday party all have a meaning to the child which they can relate to, which will enable them to develop their understanding of numbers quicker and easier than using rote learning.
Experience teaching international curriculum: I passed the Texas Educators Certificate Generalist EC-6 and 4-8 in 2014 and during that time I have taught many international students. I currently provide online tuition to some students in China and Dubai. The students a studying an English curriculum, International Baccalaureate and American curriculum. I have also taught international students, including Russian, German, American and Spanish, at the Oxford Royale Academy at St Mary's in Ascot. The curriculum followed an inquiry based learning with a project focus.
Experience in developing social communication skills, and self-expression: In developing social interaction I use a lot of modelling and scaffolding. If a child is using inappropriate language whilst communicating I will repeat their comments without the use of the inappropriate language. I never draw attention to negative behaviour and actively reward good or expected behaviour. I would ask the child for advice as to what they would do or say if someone they were working with wasn't behaving as they expected. I enjoy allowing the child to pretend to be the teacher and I become the student. By doing so I can model the expected behaviours and communication of the child and observe what the child's expectations of the lesson are. I talk openly about empathy and how other people might feel, how I feel and how the child would feel in different scenarios. Most importantly for me is to know the limitations of the child you are supporting. I wouldn't expect an introverted child to feel comfortable interacting the same way as a child who is more outgoing.
Experience of teaching Study skills: Again, being a GCSE Examiner of English and History and a qualified English and History teacher, I have a good understanding of what an outstanding essay would look like. I have accumulated a collection of papers that show the difference between outstanding and average grades. When supporting someone with issues that relate to essay writing and always share the examples I have. This gives the student an idea of were they feel their essay would be placed. From this we are able to plan which method to use to help them achieve their desired grade. I look at organisation and how to plan out the essay, with the question at the centre. I use visual supports and reference to the text. Time management is key in preparing a student for essay writing. There needs to be time allocated to initial preparation, planning, sentence structure and building up of the sentence and finally the writing of the essay. I work in small individual steps based on P.E.E Point, Evidence and Explain. This method helps students to understand how to plan and write their essay. By following these step they are able to fully answer the essay questions. From this point I support building up of the sentence, were I look at the answer that has been given and look at how we can change and improve it using different writing techniques like: rule of three, alliteration, personification, metaphors, oxymorons and similes to name a few. By introducing these techniques and mentioning them in the essay will give the higher grade.
Experience teaching English, including reading and writing skills and working with students with writing resistance: I have experienced writing resistance many times throughout my teaching career, especially with younger children. Due to my experience as an Advanced Early Years teacher I am able to use a variety of techniques including: Talk for Writing, Student as the Teacher, Read Write Inc to name a few. I also focus on the student's interests and plan lessons around them, by doing so the student is more likely to engage in the lesson. Allowing the student to pretend to be the teacher is a fun way of engaging the child. I have used this method in schools and whilst providing 1 to 1 tuition. It works really well because the child doesn't feeling like they are learning and become more involved in the lesson. Being a GCSE English examiner I am in an excellent position to guide and support students with developing their English skills. I provide tips on achieving the higher grades by looking deeper into the text. I give pointers on things to look for and the different writing techniques adopted by writers and what the messages the author is trying to get across to the reader. I teach reading comprehension and how to use inference in answering exam style questions through looking deeper into the text. I talk about the text and how we infer something from the information that is available. For example if a character is wearing winter clothes but there is no mention of the time of year I will ask questions that will guide them to the answer. For example why are they wearing a coat? Do you think it is a hot day? Do you think it is summer? Why?
Experience developing handwriting: Whilst teaching in Reception and Year 1 and 2 I developed a program for developing handwriting. It involved mark-making in reception to following curving lines. The children learnt to write their name in the air with their finger and this was transferred to sand in the sandpit. By teaching this way the children were able to develop hand eye coordination which is vital in early handwriting. The slowly developed this skill from finger to chalk to pencil and finally pen. The child would follow a doted line I had made on a piece of paper until they were able to copy the letters. Once they had achieved this they were able to attempt writing independently. Throughout my time as a Reception teacher I always had mark-making material readily available along with paper with doted lines and plain paper for the child to try and copy their name or write their own sentences.
Specialist Maths support experience: Maths was always my favourite subject as a child at school and it is still the case as a Teacher. Being an Advanced Early Years qualified teacher I understand the progression of learning that takes place in young children particularly in Maths. The lessons I plan use a variety of stimuli to promote an embedded understanding of the process of maths. Where possible I make the learning relevant to real life situations, by doing so the learning has a meaning. Playing games is another method I use when teaching maths, especially to children with learning difficulties. The game becomes a fun way of learning and it helps with the recalling of facts.
Experience of creative writing, English and History GCSEs: I hold a BA Hons degree in English and History, I am also a GCSE examiner for both subjects. During my time as a university student I learnt creative writing and chose it as a module. When teaching creative writing I look at different scenery that can be used to write a descriptive piece. I encourage talking about what can be seen in the picture and then detailing around the picture. From there I bring in the senses and we talk about what we might see, hear, taste, touch and smell if we were stood taking the picture. We then start to build up sentences and use a variety of sentence openers. I look at using adverbials for sentence openers to make the writing appeal to the reader. I also use the audio descriptions on TV programs and films. This helps the student to understand what the scene would look like if written in a book. I also compare films with the books, like Harry Potter the film and Harry Potter the book. I show the scene and read the description from the book.
Experience with supporting students with Dyspraxia: Whilst working in a specialist school I have taught students with dyspraxia. I would always give additional time to the students to enable them to comprehend the task, but I found that a lot of the student were very intelligent but just needed the extra time to process. I would often repeat the task to the student so that they could fully absorb what was expected. Making sure the equipment was suitable for the student to use is vitally important when supporting students with dyspraxia. I would always give the student a choice of equipment and allow them to choose the most suitable. I would also provide lesson that don't require a lot of writing as this can be difficult for a student with issues with their fine motor skills. By doing so I don't draw attention to their issues as this can have a negative impact on their self esteem.
Preparing for 11+ and 13+ entrance exams: I have also provided tuition to many students for the 11+ and 13+ entrance exams, which involve maths problem solving questions. The schools that the students have successfully past the entrance exams for include: Queen Elizabeth, King Edwards, Langley, Watford Old Boys, Doctor Challoner's and the Slough consortium. I fully understand the requirements of the grammar and independents schools.
Experience with supporting students with cerebral palsy: during my time as Primary school teacher I was fortunate to be able to work with some students that had cerebral palsy. One of the students was a little girl in Key Stage 1 who had very little speech but was very enthusiastic about learning. Being the class teacher it was my responsibility to ensure the child access to an education that was suitable for her and her needs. We found different ways to communicate through touch and noise. I would always make sure I was sat in her eye level and make lots of eye contact when speaking and observing her reaction and response. To help with the child making eye contact with me I would put a sticker on my nose or forehead. This helped her focus on an object which close to my mouth and eyes. I limited instructions and provided a limited number of choices. I also used photos of the child's family and friends and their toys, as a means of communication. Another student I taught was my friends son who was in Key Stage 4. He was a very intelligent lad who had some speech but again very limited. I provided one to one tuition to support him with his GCSEs. He went on to pass his GCSEs and entered University were he graduated with a BA Hons in Politics. Although, I did support him initially, he taught me so much about physical disabilities and for me he was an example of what people can achieve regardless of their disability.