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Anne Jakins

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Everything posted by Anne Jakins

  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.
  16. Should the pastoral care of students remain the responsibility of teaching staff? I have huge respect for Heads of Year but often think that juggling a teaching commitment with 'trouble shooting' and all the pastoral responsibilities of monitoring behaviour and progress in a year group must sometimes seem overwhelming. With the current trend towards employing administrators to lessen the teaching load, is this a role which could be delegated to non-teaching mentors or is it too specialised?
  17. Sorry Jean , I can't give you the information you want at the moment but I would like to take this opportunity to speak up on behalf of PRUs. We used to have one in the small town in which I teach run by an experienced and skilful teacher. This used to give school staff and selected students a well earned breather and more importantly provide advice and support. When the PRU was closed the support was offered on an outreach basis which also produced successful results. Now....well I expect you have guessed the rest. There still a number of PRUs that have been retained but these tend to be for students with extreme and often anti-social and violent behaviour, where the 'revolving door ' policy of old is inappropriate.
  18. My huge concern for ADHD students is post 16. Many of them view this as the time to dispense with all medication which of course is their choice. When following the progress of some of our ex-students with ADHD it appears that their continued impulsive behaviour can land them in significant trouble. For example, impulsive attitudes towards money coupled with poor social skills can make these students difficult to employ successfully. I have also heard of students with addiction to chat lines running up high expenditure that impacts on their families. Post 16 is a time when many young people tend lose touch with the professionals who have supported them throughout their school life. Surely there needs to be life coaching or some sort of accessible support available to those who continue to live with this condition.
  19. Jean Very interested to read about your grandson. Has that family friend spoken to you about how she changed his behaviour?As a parent it must be all too easy to get caught in that spiral of destructive responses and despair. I have met several parents who have unjustly had to live with the label of being a 'bad parent' and therefore the cause of their child's difficult behaviour.
  20. On a recent course about supporting bereaved children in school it was apparent how many children of divorced parents suffer in a similar way. Teachers are working every day with significant numbers of children who are suffering the pain of loss, and exhibiting distress. Symptoms may be physical, feelings of anger , anxiety or fear. These emotional responses can detract from a student's ability to concentrate, relate to others and manage anger. Students who are unable to verbalise emotion may express negative feelings through behaviour. Should there be greater recognition and support in schools? If you teach in a school which employs a counsellor do you think this is of significant benefit to the students?
  21. Jean I expect the rate at which special schools are being closed down differs from one LEA to another but we also seem to be following the trend towards the inclusion of children with highly complex needs in mainstream schools. I know there is considerable opposition to this but it will be a difficult trend to reverse . I like the idea of a group of schools in one locality which between them offers a range of special needs specialisms. Is this the kind of compromise you had in mind?
  22. Emotional Intelligence means recognising our feelings and managing them effectively while having an increased awareness of motivation, empathy and social skills. The Department of Education and Science has given EI training to 2,000 teachers across the country and considers it a valuable tool in schools. At its best EI, it is claimed, is a far better predictor than IQ of future success or failure in life. Students who are taught to control and monitor anti-social urges perform better. Teachers emotionaly tuned into their students get better results. Apparently Chris Woodhead is not a fan - considers 'a waste of time'. What do you think?
  23. I wonder whether the increasing levels of aggressive behaviour in schools is the result of the way children are treated in their formative years at home. If they have experienced any sort of physical assault children may resort to the same response. I think that children should be taught the skills of negotiation from a young age to resolve conflict.
  24. This looks like an interesting piece of research John. We often find that students whose literacy fails to progress satisfactorily have difficulty with auditory discrimination. They are unable to distinguish between different vowel digraphs and consonant blends despite having no detectable hearing problem.
  25. The problem solving approach I have described is a simplified outline of Solution Focus Therapy developed in 1986 by a group of therapists in Milwaukee. Since then this therapy has gained huge international respect. The essence of this therapeutic approach is to work with the person rather than the problem; to look for resources rather than deficits; to explore possible and preferred futures; to explore what is already contributing to those possible futures; to treat clients as the experts in all aspects of their lives. For more information - solution@brieftherapy.org.uk - their courses are in my opinion inspirational. I have known students become so involved in using this technique that they will give me the day's number on their scale without a prompt.They can become very adept in using this framework to break down what seems like an insurmountable problem. Using what is referred to as the 'Miracle Question' the facilitator helps the student articulate hopes for a preferred future where the problem is resolved by saying the following; While you are in bed asleep tonight a miracle happens and the problem which brought you here is resolved. When you wake up how will you know that the miracle has taken place?What will you be doing differently? What will others be doing differently? donnaGEM do let me know how you get on if you try this technique.
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