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Coming out of lockdown can be hard for learners with additional support needs (ASN). Here’s everything you can do to smooth the transition as a teacher!
Routine is important for children and adults with additional support needs. So the slightest disruption can make learning difficult. With the recent pandemic, education has been completely turned upside down, and teachers and their students must now navigate the road to recovery.
1. Have a period of recovery
For teachers returning to an ASN school or those returning to work experience, it’s important to allow for an adjustment period. As students come back to the classroom and adapt to the ‘new normal’, processes will need to be in place to support this.
Learning time may be dramatically cut for the first few weeks as everyone gets used to being back in a class environment. And any learned positive behaviours may need to be re-trained once again.
Working with a variety of different learners with additional support needs means understanding that each individual is different. Some may have been affected by the pandemic more than others, and some may be battling issues such as heightened mental illness or social anxiety.
2. Re-establish routines
Structure is absolutely necessary when you’re a TLAN teacher. Whether you’re in full-time work or doing PGCE training, having solid lesson plans, regular routines and a systematic approach is vital to performance in an ASN school.
But disruption can mean having to re-establish all of the rules, regulations and schedules again. During this time, take a step back from academic focus and work on the basics to ensure seamless teaching going forward.
Working with your pupils to build their self-confidence can be much more advantageous than jumping straight back in to previous achievement levels. Don’t set the bar too high, and allow students to catch up to where they were before.
3. Stay organised
There’s no hiding from the fact that the world of education is now behind. Home schooling can only do so much, and both the disruptive and uncertain nature of COVID means that students of all ages have suffered.
As a TLAN teacher, it’s your job to bring everyone back up to speed, and the best way to do this is to be extremely organised. Have a roadmap that extends far beyond lesson plans, but helps you navigate this unusual time in your teaching career.
4. Build positive relationships
This is also an important time to focus your energy on reconnecting with students, particularly the ones that need the most care and attention. Invest time into rebuilding trust to give your class a feeling of safety and security.
Learning and progress will follow if you look after an ASN learner’s specific needs. By creating a positive learning environment, students can thrive and get the support they require to improve their work.
5. Focus on professional development
Another important tip for ASN school teachers or TLAN PGCE students is to seek out personal and professional development opportunities. At the University of Bolton, we have a student-first approach, putting you, and your needs first; for the past three years our students have voted us No.1 for Student Satisfaction.*
Our courses leaders spend time getting to know you and your career goals, and tailor the PGCE training to fit your chosen career path.
If you’d like to find out more information about applying for our PGCE 14+ programme to work with learners with additional support needs, see our course page or speak to our Admissions Team Enquiries@bolton.ac.uk.
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