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As an SEN teacher you face challenges different to that of other teachers but share the same overall goal – progress. Because of this, you will need to adapt your behaviour beyond that of your own education. This week we will look at how you can help your more challenging SEN students progress with their studies by fine tuning your teaching methods.
Whereas, most cases of disruption have their roots in 'disruption for the sake of disruption', if you come across an SEN student that is disruptive, you must look deeper into the cause. Intimidation by, or the lack of understanding of a topic that you are teaching can be tormenting to a student that faces learning difficulties, and can actually become ‘boring’ if they feel that the subject is dramatically beyond them – hence the continual disruption.
To tackle this, consider breaking down your topic into easier steps, and develop a more visually appealing learning process to help capture your student's attention and imagination. As soon as they demonstrate progress, it is vital to communicate this to them for encouragement.
Some SEN students have problems communicating what’s in their head onto paper. By recognising the signs, and identifying this sooner rather than later, you can establish the best possible route for the student moving forward. For example, if you think that you may have a dyslexic student in your classroom, you can alert your head of department who has it in their power to apply for extra funding on behalf of the student for a dyslexic-specific laptop to complete any written work on. If you feel that your student may be facing different problems, then consider changing your teaching method to benefit them. This could include the simplification of your instructions, allowing your student to use a dictaphone to record their response, or by using visual cues with each sentence that you use to ‘set’ the work with.
Lack of sustained concentration can be a classic trait of an SEN student. To boost progress with a student of yours that lacks focus, consider breaking your tasks down into simpler, bitesize exercises that are engaging and easier to achieve. Introduce short and regular breaks allowing students a bit of time to disengage from a taskor an activity before re-engaging. Remember, sustained concentration can be tough for most people.