07/04/2021

Categories: Education and Teacher Training, Postgraduate

4 Creative Ways to Engage With SEN Learners in the Classroom

Helping pupils with Special Education Needs (SEN) requires rules, repetition and structure. But creativity is still key in the classroom, no matter the subject.

Teaching Learners with Additional Needs (TLAN) is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do within education. With inclusivity being high up on the global agenda, there has never been a more important time to upskill in this area.

Young people with SEN can now be funded to stay in education up to the age of 25, meaning that strategies have to adapt to include every age range.

Our PGCE (M) 14+ TLAN course will prepare you for a variety of classroom settings, providing you with a platform for a variety of roles. We help you build creative solutions to common problems in TLAN teaching, furthering your pedagogy skills and giving you the tools to think on your feet.

This includes having a creative approach to lesson plans and pupil interactions. Here are just some unique and innovative ways to engage with your class as a SEN teacher.  

1. Use music to improve memory

A lot of SEN learners struggle with both their working memory and long term memory, and this can lead to difficulties in learning.

In the classroom, this may translate as them not being able to follow instructions, not being able to do quick mental maths, not having good problem-solving skills or lacking in topic knowledge.

To aid the learning process, songs can be a great way to make learning fun. Furthermore, rhythm and melody help SEN learners understand keywords. 

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2. Make time for conversation

Conversations can lead to great things. They can encourage collaboration, improve independent thinking and even inspire new ideas. To enable this effectively in the classroom, SEN teachers should use question formulation techniques to get learners to ask the question.

By turning the tables, you can create more interaction, and this can be applied in both group and one-to-one situations.

Some creative ways to do this include using imagery to start conversations, having inspiration walls, providing breakout periods for reflection, and promoting the use of “What if?” questions to allow for free thinking. 

3. Connect learning with real life

Another way to make your lessons more engaging as a SEN teacher is to make a connection to things in everyday life. This helps the brain structure things appropriately, linking information to something they already understand.

For instance, you could set out the lesson schedule in a restaurant menu format (with “Starter”, “Main Course” and “Dessert”). This is a fun yet ordered way of breaking up the lesson segments. Not only does it help them engage, but it also makes key information easier to remember.

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4. Let students be creative

A hugely successful teaching strategy for engagement is allowing students to have creative control in projects. It doesn’t matter what subject(s) you’re teaching. Creativity has a place in every class, including science and maths.

By letting students create something of their own, you will make the learning process more enjoyable. This is also a great way to build their confidence, empowering them build on their individual abilities.

Are you interested in teaching learners with special needs? The University of Bolton is one of the largest providers of teacher training in the UK, and we practice what we preach when it comes to inclusivity.

We rank No.2 in the UK for Social Inclusion* and we’ve also been voted No.1 for Student Satisfaction** for three years running.

To find out about applying for our PGCE (M) 14+ TLAN programme in September 2021, see our course page for details.

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We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

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