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Anne Jakins

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  1. With the move towards ' mixed age' teaching does a vertically grouped pastoral system have a significant role to play? Does this encourage students to work together more effectively across the academic age groups and break down any barriers?
  2. My partner school is in Finland and the language has not presented a barrier. Apparently some of the students are fluent in English. You are right though, others require help from the teacher. I started by putting up a display of maps etc in the classroom in order to involve the whole department. The students communicate via a forum. I have noticed that the students take particular care with the quality of their work knowing that other students are going to read it. They also have to adjust their use of language to the specific audience of students who have English as a second language. In my recently written development plan I made sure that this international dimension to our work in SEN is embedded in our teaching of literacy and ICT and is not seen as an ' add on'. Some useful examples of successful projects can be found at http://www.britishcouncil.org/montageworld.htm
  3. I know I am preaching to the converted on this forum but I would like to advocate international partnership projects between groups of SEN students. I am currently working with a school in Scandinavia which has a similar unit to mine. This has created enormous interest and enthusiasm amongst our students. We started with a simple question and answer cultural exchange and have environmental projects planned. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had experience with this sort of collaboration and can recommend successful projects. This seems to be a very effective way of enhancing literacy and ICT skills and what is more important it is great fun.
  4. So much has been written about the negative aspects of inclusion. Surely children with complex needs can bring enormous benefits to mainstream schools . A child I teach who is recovering from invasive medical treatment and struggling to regain her speech has impressed everyone with her personal resourcefulness and ability to cope. I know this is a controversial topic but surely schools can benefit enormously from including children who would previously been educated in separate establishments.Children with complex needs will often bring out the best in other students, a less competitive and caring side.
  5. In a recent NUT survey two thirds of teachers said that the poor behaviour of students was preventing them from doing their jobs properly or at all. A deputy Head from Solihull is quoted as saying that 'teaching has become something you do on those odd occasions when you are not dealing with unacceptable behaviour'. Does anyone have the answer? Ruth Kelly may call for 'zero tolerance' of classroom disruption but seems short on practical solutions. Schools seem increasingly short on effective sanctions. As for detentions, the guidelines say that parents must receive 24hrs notice with a written explanation of the reason for it. Parents have the right to object. For many teachers handing out detentions is hardly worth the effort. Withdrawal of privileges, onsite isolation rooms, exclusions - where do we go from here?
  6. Not sure that you seriously want the answer John but I will tell you anyway. The programmes featuring Sackville SEN Dept are called Complex Needs, Raising Self Esteem and working with LSAs - showing times on Teacers TV website - one lesson to be learnt when being filmed - check what you are sitting in front of!
  7. I am writing as someone whose SEN department is currently being shown on TeachersTV. I will interested to see the viewing figures but the filming and participation were an entirely positive experience. The film was produced by a Brighton based company who took a great deal of trouble gaining the trust of staff and students before the filming began. As for the end result - you are invited to see for yourselves!
  8. Jean - creating the position of assistant teachers with two year's training seems like a good idea. Nationlly, LSAs receive some training but it seems to be very much at the discretion of the school. I think the most important responsibility of the school is to appoint the right people. LSAs have to be discrete, reliable, flexible and work well as part of a team and are not easily shocked when party to student conversation in the classroom! My department has a student- centred approach to support as opposed to blanket cover of the curriculum. I think this produces the most effective learning for individual students. The main difficulty I think is in achieving effective communication between LSA and subject teachers, particulary where the LSA may not be timetabled for all the lessons. In a large school, where support staff work only school hours this can be quite a problem. Increasingly the position of LSA is becoming full time and with so many more being appointed there needs to be different levels of responsibility and a proper career structure. It would be good to attract more men into the job as well to provide role models for some of our more challenging students.
  9. An article in the TES last week puts forward a suggestion that we should 'chaynj ilojical spelings' to give a more consistnt phonetic approach. Marsha Bell, author of books on spelling has said that it is unfair to compare the achievements of english speaking children with those from other countries because of the irregularities in english spelling. She has compiled a list of 80 words for example : ar- are giv- give frend-friend and would abolish silent letters and change the 'o' in words like brother. As someone who remembers the Initial Teaching Alphabet, popular in the 70s, I am unable to take this very seriously. However I think it raises the issue as to whether as teachers we often put too great an emphasis on correct spelling for those students who struggle with it.
  10. I think there should be much greater recognition of the role of the LSA in pupil learning particularly in view of the growing numbers of support staff in schools. Presumably this will have to be an important development in the next few years as the work force reform enhances their role and gives greater responsibility and better career structure.
  11. Happy Chrisrmas Eve Derek - just to let you know how seriously I take you here are our answers to your quiz - this has provided hours of fun for my entire family and has put tonights meal in jeopardy! 1. Karl Marx said 'Religion is the opium of the people' 2. Dickens' Christmas Carol begins with 'The Marleys were dead' 3. Seven dwarfs were - Happy, Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy 4. Tenth rendeer is 'Olive' 5. Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine 6. Richard Trevithick invented the steam locomotive 7. Did Sherlock Holmes not say 'Elementary, my dear Watson' in all the books 8. J, S, U, N 9. Rutherford said that splitting the atom was of 'far greater importance than a war' referring to the First World War 10. The musical was 'Away We Go' Hope you're impressed
  12. Would be teachers seem increasingly to work in a supportive role in the classroom while deciding whether or not 'to take the plunge'. There cannot be a better way of gaining exposure to different teaching styles and learning those subtle classroom management techniques which are often difficult to describe. Teachers who have gone down this route have to be more able to communicate effectively with their LSAs. While some staff are really good at this others don't even acknowledge the presence of another adult in the classroom. I have worked with our LSAs and the MFL Department on a set of guidelines to address these issues. Collaboration is really important but often difficult in a rushed secondary school day.
  13. I work with a group of hard working and skilled Learning Support Assistants. The low salary and lack of proper career structure does not match the often high levels of paperwork and responsibility. I see our LSAs as one of the schools most valuable resources. Being an LSA should not be seen merely as a step towards being a teacher. Some LSAs are so put off by what they see in the classroom that they prefer to remain in the supporting role.As teachers do we use their skills as efficiently as we should do ? Effective communication is often an important issue.
  14. Jean In response to your query about the number of excluded students currently being educated in PRUs, the TES this week gives the number as 13,000. Apparently, statemented students are four times more likely to be excluded which makes me query the effectiveness of behaviour support in schools. Number of children registered as having behaviour, social and emotional difficulties is 126,500. However, none of these statistics include the 15,000+ who simply disappear from the education system altogether.
  15. Break of Day in the Trenches by Isaac Rosenberg The darkness crumbles away --- It is the same old Druid Time as ever. Only a live thing leaps my hand - A queer sardonic rat--- As I pull the parapet's poppy To stick behind my ear . Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew Your cosmopolitan sympathies. Now you have touched this English hand You will do the same to a German- Soon,no doubt , if it be your pleasure To cross the sleeping green between. It seems you inwardly grin as you pass Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes Less chanced than you for life, Bonds to the whims of murder, Sprawled in the bowels of the earth, Tte torn fields of France. What do you see in our eyes At the shrieking iron and flame Hurled through still heavens? What quaver-what heart aghast? Poppies whose roots are in a man's veins Drop, and are ever dropping; But mine in my ear is safe, Just a little white with the dust.
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