Specialist Experience and Skills
I am a qualified teacher with experience of teaching in primary and secondary schools, specialist units, tuition centres and PRUs. My subject specialisms are Religious Studies and Philosophy, English and Maths; SATS, 7+, 11+; Humanities, Citizenship, Geography. I also teach Personal, Social and Health Education, Life Skills, Adult Literacy and Numeracy. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and a Master’s Degree in English. I have over 19 years’ experience of teaching key stages 1- 4, GCSE and adults, including students with autism (including high functioning), social, emotional and men... Read More
I am a qualified teacher with experience of teaching in primary and secondary schools, specialist units, tuition centres and PRUs. My subject specialisms are Religious Studies and Philosophy, English and Maths; SATS, 7+, 11+; Humanities, Citizenship, Geography. I also teach Personal, Social and Health Education, Life Skills, Adult Literacy and Numeracy. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and a Master’s Degree in English. I have over 19 years’ experience of teaching key stages 1- 4, GCSE and adults, including students with autism (including high functioning), social, emotional and mental health, non-verbal, language and communication delay, dyslexia and Downs Syndrome.
My experience developing trusting relationships with students with SEN and additional needs: I have worked with a range of vulnerable students from a range of backgrounds, therefore, I have learnt to be flexible – I have been in situations where a lesson is not suitable for a student or group, therefore adapt accordingly. Behaviour management is another skill which I have sought to develop - I will use a range of strategies to diffuse a volatile situation; I am quite perceptive and will automatically gauge a student’s emotional state before a lesson to create a safe and productive environment for them. I provide differentiated lessons – I have taught a range of students and therefore I am able to create individualized learning resources and curriculum based on each students need and interest as I know that there is not a one box fits all. Through my additional teaching of SATS, 7+, 11+, comprehension skills, verbal and non-verbal reasoning, essay writing and study skills; numeracy, literacy, and phonics, I have acquired different skills to enable a student to access the lesson material and make good progress. The opportunity of being an educational practitioner has enabled me to create engaging resources and learning material, as well as differentiating for students with different learning abilities ranging from high attaining students to EAL and SEN students. Through the monitoring of students and their attainment, I have been able to pin-point under achievement and set specific targets in each case. My work as a teacher in PRUs, tuition centres and alternative educational sites has enabled me to support, engage, motivate, teach and integrate pupils with SEBD, SEN and medical needs into mainstream or alternative education; this varied from working with a year 5 non-verbal EAL downs-syndrome student working at P-levels, enabling him to access language, reading, ICT and the creative arts to students with SEBD and additional complex needs.
I have extensive experience as a Religious Studies and philosophy, English, and Humanities, teacher and private tutor working within the mainstream educational system as well as within SEN - dyslexia, autism (including high functioning), ADD/ ADHD, social, emotional and mental health, non-verbal, language and communication delay, Downs Syndrome, Medical Needs and alternative educational units. In addition, I have been successful at working with those students who needed to improve their GCSE grade as well as those students who needed to improve a specific area whether it was essay writing skills, reading, creative writing, algebra. My experience to date, has involved teaching mixed ability classes at key stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, in mixed inner-city comprehensives within England. This has given me opportunities to teach a diverse range of students from different ethnic and social backgrounds. Through teaching, I have established the ability to modify my style of communication according to the audience and need; from an individual, small group, class or larger setting. I have been able to develop various pedagogies to address young people’s learning styles, therefore catering to individual those students who are visual, auditory and kinetic learners.
My experience teaching phonics, writing and inference skills: As an English and Humanities teacher, I have extensive experience developing students’ writing and comprehension skills. I use a range of reading strategies, teaching styles and engaging activities to help engage, maintain and excel students’ progress. In addition, I have delivered phonics, reading and spelling programs to students underachieving in English. I have used Ruth Miskin, phonological and processing programs online; Toe by Toe reading and spelling programs which have been paramount to accelerated progress with a range of SEN and non-SEN students.
My experience working with dyslexic students: This has involved using creative methods alongside traditional phonics, literacy and numeracy intervention to help develop foundational skills in communication and self-esteem improvement. In addition, I have used critical thinking, philosophy for children and short tasks to improve concentration, memory and focus skills. My certificate in psychology has helped gain the knowledge and understanding of dyslexia, short-term and long-term memory, processing and engagement.
My experience working with students with ADD/ADHD: I ensure that a safe environment is created and allow students to take ownership of their own learning and organisation. I use task planners, visual timetables so that students know where they are in the lesson and what is coming next. I give regular movement breaks and active tasks so that students can stay focussed and attentive. I make sure tasks are broken down into manageable segments. The use of mind maps, visualisation techniques, breathing, mindfulness, and SMART targets as part of the curriculum has always been effective when working with students as it helps to focus, centre and engage.
My experience working with dyspraxic students: One of the most important steps I ensure when working with someone with dyspraxia is to ensure the learning environment is conducive for learning. This includes making sure that the seating area is appropriate for the learner such as seat height, angle of the desk or table; if writing is a barrier to learning, then a laptop or computer should be used. Creating a safe environment is essential, especially with students who have low self-esteem and organisation. Structured sessions are essential to help students manage themselves and their learning. I have approached lessons in a non-judgmental way and allow students to find their voice by given them a platform for thinking and speaking. I have found that it is important for students with dyspraxia to understand the ‘why’ so they can learn to figure out the steps needed for a particular action or activity. Developing fine motor skills is essential and I try and ensure that learning involves exercises and games (Play-doh, dot-to=dot, arts and crafts, stretching, visualisation) to develop this. Tutoring is a collaborative space for student and teacher and I think ensuring that students feel in control in the learning is one way to ‘unlock’ the ‘beauty’ inside.
My experience working with autistic students including high functioning autism and PDA: I have learnt that no two students are the same and therefore my approach has been to have a range of approaches and strategies. I have used daily timetables including visual schedules as a way of structuring the day or lesson so that students know exactly what they will be doing, which reduces anxiety and disengagement as well as a homework schedule to ensure that set tasks are done. Ensuring a range of tasks that can stimulate throughout the lesson has been an effective way of managing emotions and improving focus and progression. I understand the needs of students that present as PDA; I have always ensured to address this by ensuring SMART targets. It is important for a student who has such high levels of anxiety to know that they are supported and can achieve. In addition, I always keep instructions specific, concrete and task orientated so that students know exactly what is required of them. Lessons are very structured and student-specific so that continuous progression is made. Cross-curricular approaches to teaching and learning in other disciplines has meant that explicit reference is made to what is taught in other subjects such as maths, English, PSHEE, art, science involving photography, crafts, research, writing essays, which helps develops students’ mathematical, scientific, creative and literacy skills.
My experience working with students with global delay: I allow students to take ownership of their own learning and organisation. The reason for this, is to allow a student to process information in their own time and at their own speed. My role is always to facilitate and scaffold learning through different learning strategies. I use modelling, VAK, SMART targets, role-play, arts and crafts to stimulate learning. In addition, I have found memory focus tasks have been effective in retrieving and activating information. This supports accessing tasks and actively completing them with understanding and steps for further progress.
My experience working with students with language and communication delay: Building a safe and stable environment in this setting has been paramount to the progress of the students I have worked with. I always try to ensure that my communication with students experiencing any type of speech, language or communication delay is simple and concise and supported by visuals whenever needed. During lessons I use task cards, games, role-play, visuals alongside auditory information and the repetition of instructions. The building up of self-esteem is really important, so I always allow students time to think and respond as well as giving options. I have found working closely with parents is essential as parents know and understand their children the best.
My experience teaching students with processing and memory needs: Over-learning has been a key way to help my students in this area. Visual information, sensory information has also been paramount to enable students to process and retain key information. Exaggerating information through stories and pictures really helps with improving memory. My lessons focuses on memory building exercises alongside building self-esteem and trust.
My experience working with students with developing executive functioning skills: I have found that creating a learning journey and timetable helps student see the bigger picture. Using this information, working collaboratively with the student by breaking each task into manageable components really helps students approach the day or lesson more positively. With younger students, creating a survival kit is a fun way to make something less daunting. I personally use super maps and social stories to support students with remembering information and daily tasks, especially when revising for exams. Visualisation exercises combined with meditation and breathing helps to centre students and walk through their day and week. Reviewing work, asking questions and teaching students how to ‘actively listen’ has also been a successful practice over the years; this really motivates students to keep trying, to keep practicing and persevering with daily challenges in the personal and academic lives.
My experience boosting confidence and self-belief in students with anxiety and low self-esteem: I usually start lessons with different breathing exercises and body scans. I also use visualisation techniques, music and focus points to help reduce anxieties and refocus students. This helps them to engage better within the lesson and helps build calm. I also embed creativity within the lessons so that students have a space for self-expression and self-reflection. I feel that I have helped students develop through my schemes of work the skills of self-reflection and self-awareness as well as helping them to develop reasoning and critical analysis; allowing students to voice their concerns and how they feel about teaching and their progression in lessons.
My experience providing fun sessions to help students engage in learning: I have had to ensure that the lessons I create are fun and full of activities catered to the individual need of the student. By building a safe environment, mutual trust and respect, I have been able to explore different ways to deliver lessons such as ice-breaker activities, quizzes, profile cards, teaching, role-play, animations, painting, crafts, games, learning journeys. By allowing students to be part of the decision making process in terms of their learning journey, autonomy and ownership becomes a fun and engaging way to learn.
My experience working as an English & Maths teacher: I have had over 16 years of teaching English and Maths. My students typically develop a new enjoyment and satisfaction with English Literature and Language, as I am able to explain things to them that they have struggled or been dissatisfied with. Students that struggle with Maths are given clear focuses and methods to help break down the questions, especially with reasoning questions. I can teach to the exam board syllabus, or alternatively provide my own materials. I have developed and applied different pedagogies to enhance the learning of my students. I have developed an up to date working knowledge of the requirements that is statutory according to the national curriculum and GCSE. Using terminology that examiners use on a regular basis and also building in examination techniques has allowed my students to be more confident year upon year in being able to present their knowledge and understanding in the way it is required by examiners. Alongside this, I always set targets for students to ensure that they are clear in their understanding of what is required for their progression through using levels, grades and success criteria. I have developed an in-depth knowledge and understanding of how to enthuse students through the content and transferable skills that allow for progression. Examples of this include being able to identify key skills and GCSE exam questions from past exam papers. This has been done in a way so that there is clear progression from the start of the academic year to exam preparation in the spring term. Whereby at the beginning students learn how to answer exam style questions that carry less marks and slowly building up to essay style exam questions which carry more marks. I also use a range of strategies to engage and develop students including challenging tasks to start, revision games, plenaries, target grids, quizzes, vocabulary bank and flash cards. I use a range of literary texts to broaden their understanding of fiction and non-fiction writing as well as helping them understand the writing process and different strategies that can be applied to mathematical questions.
My experience working with exam students: Having attended subject network meetings in the past and liaising with the examining board at regular intervals I have kept up to date with current assessment requirements and arrangements that are determined by exam boards for the exam subjects I have taught. This has enabled me to implement the changes and adapt existing strategies for learners. Using terminology that examiners use on a regular basis and also building in examination techniques has allowed students to be more confident year upon year in being able to present their knowledge and understanding in the way it is required by examiners. Alongside this, clear target setting is made to ensure that students are clear in their understanding of what is required for their progression; through using levels, grades and success criteria. I have worked closely with my students in making levelling and grading more explicit to students so that students are aware of what levels they are working at. Assessment and monitoring of students’ progress is not only through exam outcome but also in the form of both summative and formative assessments which are planned into lessons to allow me to monitor progression of my students’ understanding; ensuring challenge for all through accessible means.
My experience improving student progress and outcomes: My responsibilities have been to plan, develop and teach schemes of work according to the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1-3 and according to exam specifications for KS4. This was done in a way that ensured each student could access the curriculum at their level and need and have a positive learning experience. In addition, I prepared and implemented a programme of study from IEPs by identifying and targeting student needs; I have been responsible for writing reports for each student on a half-termly basis, creating a comprehensive account of their progress, attitude and behaviour and also targeting areas of improvement and recommendations of strategies for integration or reintegration into education. Other responsibilities included reporting to the SEN and Medical Needs coordinators of individual pupil progress, queries and problems; maintaining regular contact with parents, schools and specific departments within schools, teaching staff and head-teachers about individual cases. In addition, I have had regular meetings with other professionals, such as the Educational Welfare Officer, Educational Psychologists and Speech Therapists.
My experience working as a Religious Studies and Philosophy teacher: As an examiner of Religious Studies, I have always ensured I maintain up to date knowledge, discipline and practice so that the students I teach and exam are given an accurate level based on their performance in lessons and the actual exam. I believe Religious Studies holds an important place both in Pastoral and Academic Curriculum. Religious Studies facilitates an understanding of the beliefs structures which underlie value systems. It provides evidence and examples of ways in which beliefs and values have directly affected people's lives through the making of choices and selection of priorities. It provides a critical frame of reference which transcends personal, group, ethnic, political and national interests and enables pupils to use it. It takes account of faith as an important motivating factor in people's lives. It offers an alternative approach to life than either secularism or materialism. It offers opportunity for controversial issues to be examined sensitively, avoiding possible indoctrination by default and it offers cross‑cultural insights. As a teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy, I have always ensured my students develop the ability to reflect, communicate and challenge themselves to pupils think and ask questions. I use questioning techniques and provide a safe environment where students can share their own viewpoints, being sure of their own beliefs whether religious or non-religious, and provide an environment that makes religion and beliefs come to life. From my own observations, practice and experience, I believe that Philosophy and Religious Studies are subjects that evaluate many aspects of life, morality and social issues. They also help to develop higher thinking skills and allows students a platform to think, analyse and evaluate what they believe. In my role as a Religious Studies and Philosophy teacher, I feel that I have helped students develop through my schemes of work the skills of moral reasoning and critical analysis.
I have been actively involved in developing different curriculums through planning and reviewing learning sequences, to incorporate a wide range of strategies including assessment for learning, to ensure that high quality provision that is robust and rigorous is provided regardless of abilities. I have also taken on board whole school initiatives such as literacy for marking, data analysis to inform planning, so that relevant intervention and support can be put in place for students that require it and so that students are clearly aware of what skills they are expected to work on and develop. I have implemented whole school policies into my teaching practise. This has been through taking on and developing areas of focuses which I have led and managed, including assessment for learning, formative marking, reviewing learning objectives and literacy by incorporating them into all lessons (English, Maths, Humanities, Science, and PSHEE).
My experience teaching Humanities: I have taught humanities as a GCSE subject as well as at KS1-3, focusing on the three core: Geography, History and Religious Studies. I have ensured that students explore the world that they live in and ask questions about who they are and how they fit in the global arena. I have always encouraged students to be curious, creative and critical when learning about historical events, society and culture. I have tailored lessons so that the three core elements complement each other. Many of the projects that I have done with students start with themselves and expand to the human and physical world. I have found that students enjoy creating projects about people and places whereby they can be expressive and link the creative arts to topics on civilisations, communities and eco-systems. One of the most popular projects has been on identity; whereby students investigate their own culture, history and geography. This has allowed students to analyse the impact their people group has had on the world; helped give them a sense of identity and for some, cemented a previous blurred sense of self.
My experience working with students needing study, social, life and career skills support and experience supporting children to develop their independence: I have delivered lesson activities that are appropriate to the students’ social, cultural and religious backgrounds as well as learning ability through strategies such as role-play and discussions. Role-play has helped students to rehearse situations that they may encounter as well as developing problem solving skills and empathy with others. Through discussions, the students have been able to address social and moral dilemmas, review and reflect on what they have learnt. Furthermore, there has been a raise in self-esteem and students have learnt new strategies to manage risk. I have also ensured that students have had access to differentiated material that is appropriate to their ability. Through lesson planning and the use of questions, discussions and formulaic methods for extended writing and examination questions, group activities and paired work students are given opportunities to develop personal and social skills and build confidence. Through looking at the secondary curriculum I am aware of the need to look at the key skills that run through subjects such as Functional Skills, Preparation for Working Life, PSHEE, Humanities as well as the wider curriculum to ensure students have an understanding of the key process and skills within any subject area, developing a working knowledge on how these skills can be transferred within different subjects and in a wider context through life, which can then be applied to exam attainment.
Teaching has taught me to be persistent, yet flexible to individual needs as results are not always gained immediately. Re-affirmation of equal opportunities and access to allow students to progress and achieve within the classroom and beyond. Have a continuous passion for learning; make education accessible to all and empower, teach and provide opportunities for all learners and their parents/carers.
My experience working with students with Downs Syndrome: I have worked within mainstream settings, special schools and online with students with Downs Syndrome at different levels and ages. I have found that my teaching, acquisition of skills and strategies has developed through this experience. I ensure that lessons are fun, active, engaging and child-centred. Exploring the world and learning new skills has been a positive and progressive way of helping develop knowledge and understanding of new concepts. Starting with short tasks focused on developing speech and communication is essential as it builds confidence and helps with engagement. Visual timetables and collaborative planning with students is very important, especially older ones. I have found that really helps boost self-esteem and allows students to feel as though they are being treated in a respectful manner. Role-play through reading drama and music is another teaching strategy that has been successful in the past alongside identity projects that helps students understand who they are in the world, where the fit and what they can contribute.
My experience working with students with Select Mutism: Establishing trust is the first point of call when working with a child who has chosen to opt out of communicating verbally with the world. Ice-breaker activities, time and space is essential. I always allow for warm-up time, even with students I have worked with for a period of time. Because students cannot express themselves verbally, I always monitor body language to ascertain how my students are feeling as I have found from experience that writing how they are feeling is challenging. I try to mix direct and open-ended questions during a lesson to help develop communication skills. Sometimes students will refuse to write and just point or nod; I think it is important to allow students to express themselves in the way they feel comfortable and then build up other forms of communication through props, cards, ICT, colour visuals.
Further information: Throughout my career, I have ensured that I have had a full awareness of my professional development, through taking posts that furthered my skills and developed me as a practitioner. Skills that I have developed are organizational – through managing my job as a teacher and private tutor, for example; planning the lesson time, learning activities, and resources effectively. Alongside organizational skills, I have developed good interpersonal skills through my role as a teacher in various education environments, working with different subject teams, through my position as subject leader for Humanities and PSHE in the PRU; working closely with families, key workers and clients.