Specialist Experience and Skills
Skills and experience developing meaningful and trusting relationships with children with SEN and autism: I conduct sessions in an empathetic, calm, non-judgemental, consistent and personable fashion, to ensure there is a solid relationship between the student and me. Part of this connection involves, developing rapport, looking at the student as a whole person, understanding their wider life goals, or at the very least their interests, and concerns. These interests can be as wide-ranging as cars, construction to video games such as minecraft. Or they can be difficulties related to school or s... Read More
Skills and experience developing meaningful and trusting relationships with children with SEN and autism: I conduct sessions in an empathetic, calm, non-judgemental, consistent and personable fashion, to ensure there is a solid relationship between the student and me. Part of this connection involves, developing rapport, looking at the student as a whole person, understanding their wider life goals, or at the very least their interests, and concerns. These interests can be as wide-ranging as cars, construction to video games such as minecraft. Or they can be difficulties related to school or social dynamics. This is because, in my experience, a lot of SEN students, ultimately have issues related to anxiety and insecurity. I have found this has impacted on the students’ studies or their perceptions as to what they are capable of. Therefore, though the focus is mainly on the subject matter at hand, I believe it essential to give students space within the sessions to talk about what issues they are facing, should they feel the need to as part of the tuition process. If it is appropriate, I will also talk with the students about my neurodiversity as I have my own diagnosis of ADHD and formally undiagnosed dyspraxia. Such first-hand experience of my own invisible disability at least gives SEN students an example of someone who is still able to achieve and function as part of society.
My current experience teaching SEN children mathematics 1:1 outside the classroom on a face to face and online basis: Though I have had the experience of working with SEN children in the classroom, all my current work is as a 1:1 tutor and has been for the last four years. This is divided up into two parts. I currently deliver private maths tuition online. When delivering these sessions, I use a combination of interactive tools from sights such as maths pad, Dr Frost, BossMaths, Maths Bot and Corbett maths, along with a virtual interactive whiteboard. I also support the pupils with their homework on whichever interactive portal the school has set them up on. For the most part, this is Hegarty Maths, however, I have also had experience using My Maths as well. Also, during the school day, at the time of writing, I tutor maths, on a freelance basis, for a company, with students who are currently not in school. This is because they are either on temporary or permanent exclusions, or they are out of school for medical or mental health reasons. The work I do is on a home school basis either in their houses, in libraries or designated public spaces within the borough. All these pupils are working from the AQA and Edexcel GCSE boards for their mathematics GCSE.
My skills and experience working with children with anxiety: For students with SEN and anxiety, being a trusting, listening ear, allows them to potentially engage in dialogue in a way that they may find difficult with others. This is done through structured regular check ins to ensure the student can express their energy levels, how they are feeling, and what may be on their mind at that particular moment, especially if it is distracting for them. For those with SEN such as autism ensuring what is happening in the session is laid out visually can also alleviate the anxiety. For instance, if I was working with a homeschooler who is doing a multitude of subjects, having a colored visual timetable goes towards calming feelings of uncertainty about the direction of the sessions. One of my current students who have a combination of ADHD, dyspraxia, and ASD had a lot on her mind, causing her anxiety, to the point she was struggling to concentrate at school. When time is used for this student to share their concern, their ability to assimilate and understand the subject at hand increases. In other words, something that seemed difficult becomes work where they can confidently say, “now I get it.” I also work collaboratively with parents and carers. This is particularly important in terms of communication, especially if there are any changes. I will make sure information is relayed, as best I can, well in advance so the student has the relevant processing time to assimilate it. I can also arrange meetings with students and parents before the first session. This again gives them time to process the new person that is going to be part of their lives. This would either be done online or in-person depending on the distance of travel. During these meetings we would discuss the support that is needed, to ensure that work done with the student is bespoke to their needs.
My skills and experience boosting student’s self-esteem and mathematical confidence: A key mindset I aim to pass on is getting students to, first of all, see what they can do, instead of focusing on what they struggle with. To be able to do this, I tailor my communication, content, planning and subject presentation for the needs of each student, so that it is accessible for them. If needs be I will conduct sessions with students on how to spot their skills and verbalize them. With other students I have undertaken music lessons that have included singing and learning basic guitar skills. I have also help students with life skills related tasks such as, building a CV. Having students visually see what they are capable of as a whole person raises their self-esteem. This in turn raises their motivation to participate in academic learning. In their academic studies, especially with more complex topics, I aim to break them down into manageable tasks at a pace that suits students. Students then do not feel so overwhelmed by a topic and therefore more confident to engage with the content. Until recently I was seeing a student who was diagnosed with ASD, every morning, for three hours, on a home-school basis. He, therefore, needed a varied program for learning. This had to take into account the fact that he had not been in school for a long time. Adopting these techniques got this student to the point where their mother wrote back to me saying that “I had inspired him…. and changed his life.”
My skills and experience helping children to engage in mathematical learning: Whenever I am working with a student on any subject, I combine going through the content in bite-size chunks, ensuring that I use a mix of mediums, along with positive re-enforcement and praise to celebrate every achievement, however big or small. I also do my best to relate the learning with examples that connect to the student’s life experience or interests, as well as my own. I find this generally increases student’s concentration and engagement, enabling them to complete what they thought was impossible or irrelevant. In fact, with one of my students, such an approach has meant that when they have gone back to the classroom, their teacher, who in the past they had had a personality clash with, has commented on the quality of their work and understanding. Another student of mine who is diagnosed with ASD, got marks in his end of year Mathematics tests in year 9 which gave him the option to move up to top set in his school. I also aim to find out the topics they are doing at whatever point in the academic year depending on what school they are on the books for. By making sure the topic choices are joined up with their school work, the students do not see 1:1 tuition as a separate disconnected part of their academic, and in turn life journey, but see where it fits into the bigger picture. I have found, especially with SEN students, this has been very effective.
Students can also come with their own choices of what they want to do in the sessions. This could be because there are issues they are having with their homework or a test that they need to revise for. There could also be a topic a student struggled with in the past that gets looked at instead. Sometimes the student has something that may not be directly related to the curriculum but warrants research and exploration to enhance learning in its wider sense.
Experience with teaching mathematics to students statemented for SEBD or school refusers: Though all my work with SEN children and autism is on a 1:1 basis. However, this was very much informed by the experience I had with SEN children in the classroom. This was gained while spending time teaching SEN children who were statemented for SEBD, combined with conditions such as autism and ADHD. The two organizations I did at were called Haybrook College and The Young Peoples Academy. Other groups of children with in these two organizations also suffered from issues related to low self-esteem and depression. In particular, I worked with children who were on individual pupil programs because even the classroom was too difficult for them. Working with these children, made me see that building self-esteem and motivation needs to be a key part of my tutoring. Building a strong personal connection with any student that I work with, especially if they have SEN, for me is a key way of doing this.