Barriers to Learning (Teachers)

Barriers to learning in my classroom. by Moira Thomson - Friday, 22 October 2010, 09:44 AM

 
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom. by Moira Thomson - Friday, 22 October 2010, 09:44 AM
by Alasdair Andrew - Sunday, 14 April 2013, 1:41 PM
 
Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Agnes Coles-Reichman - Monday, 14 February 2011, 03:25 PM
 
I am now more than half way through this course and have just been reading about and watching videos concerning teaching hearing impaired pupils. As I am doing some long-term supply in French and German I am going to organise a speaking test for French in a third year class in which there is a boy with hearing impairment. As a supply teacher one gets very little information about students like this one. All I know is that he has a hearing aid and I wear a microphone, so he can hear me or the tape or sound of videos, when we play these. The class is quite noisy and the boy is mostly sitting on his own without real friends. 
After the February break I will talk to his guidance teacher first, to get some background information. I would also like to talk to him personally, to find out how I could best help him practising his speaking (this is the class's first test for SQA) and if he has a friend he could practise with, perhaps away from the class for part of the time. I have no idea if the pupil support unit is able to help him and how. I have to find that out too. I will also have to communicate with the other supply teacher who takes the class.
I feel that the school is stretched for resources (for example if I compare it with what is available at Dingwall Academy), but that there are steps one can take to minimise this student's barriers to learning. Perhaps other staff who teach this boy may have strategies in place I could adapt or adopt, but I need to find out who these teachers are. 
Any comments or advice on this forum would be very welcome.
Agnes
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Moira Thomson - Tuesday, 15 February 2011, 08:16 AM
 

It would be very unusual for a specialist teacher of the hearing impaired not to be closely involved with the support of a young person whose hearing impairment requires teachers to wear a microphone.  I would suggest that you try to contact the school's visiting specialist for advice - Support for Learning or Guidance staff should have contact numbers - and discuss the arrangements he would need for a speaking test - I imagine this might include separate accommodation for the test and extra time. 

There is advice from SQA about aural assessments on page 6 of Assessment Arrangements Explained found at -  http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/files_ccc/AA_AssessmentArrangementsExplained.pdf - this may help.

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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Agnes Coles-Reichman - Thursday, 17 February 2011, 09:29 PM
 
Thank you Moira. I have looked at this link and will get in touch with the Pupil Support Department in the school and also with the PTC for English and Modern Languages. I think it is the PTC's job to inform new staff and supply teachers what we can do for students with special needs in their departments.
Agnes
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Antonia Gowdy - Wednesday, 16 February 2011, 10:52 AM
 
Agnes, 

I feel that consistency in productive teaching methods is essential for any students with ASN. As a supply teacher or assessor, you should be receiving background information on students with additional needs: how they learn best, what assistance they might need from you, what support is currently being provided including SpLTh and in school support from the learning support team, what guidance parents have given on working with their child, etc. I take my hat off to you as a supply teacher, especially one who is concerned about meeting all students needs.

Perhaps a confidential classroom file could be arranged for this child, but this would have to be discussed. In our school, our students attend French, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, PE, library and ICT outwith the regular classroom and I feel it is essential that all school staff receive info. on students' ASN, but again it is a time and resources factor.

Antonia
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Antonia Gowdy - Wednesday, 16 February 2011, 11:02 AM
 
(This a difficult set of questions for me to answer as I have always been a specialist teacher who has never worked with/in a typical classroom of students.)

What I do strongly believe is that support for students with ASN should be a seen as a team effort, and staff must collaborate and the information on a students' support needs should be reviewed and updated at least once a term. It is important that info. be shared with specialist teachers who also work with ASN students, including supply teachers. This would probably be much easier in a primary school where there are fewer staff involved with a student - secondary collaboration would be much more difficult to co-ordinate as it would involve many, many more staff, but I feel it is vital that staff have the chance to meet and share info., strengths, weaknesses, successes and difficulties with colleagues so that they can incorporate what other teachers have found to work (or not work) in their own teaching.

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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Agnes Coles-Reichman - Wednesday, 23 February 2011, 09:25 PM
 
I have now reached the one but last part of this course. So far the very last unit I studied (particularly the video clip of the modern Language teacher with the low level disruption problems) has been the most useful to me, as I am constantly suffering from this, particularly when one goes to a new school. I certainly walk about in my classes and sometimes this is effective, but at other times I miss what is happening on the other side of the room. Giving praise is good too, but I find it is always the same ones that get the praise and the others don't seem to care too much.
As far as the physical barriers are concerned, such as hearing impairment, I find that I have to chase for more information all the time. This morning I went to pupil support and found out that the boy in question has an outreach teacher, but I am always teaching when she is there, so I've not met her, nor does she know who I am. The pupil support office offered to give me her e-mail. Unfortunately I am leaving this post fairly soon, as the class teacher is slowly being phased in and I will be working in two different schools, miles apart from each other.
This course has been helpful, as it underlined how much information one needs to properly support the students, information which is private and thus not easily available to supply staff. This is even more important for conditions like dyslexia, Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. A useful strategy is to sit in the staff room and listen in on other teachers during lunch break. Colleagues will tell you, but you have to ask.
I'm not sure when I will have the time to finish this course, as I am going to be very busy in the next few weeks. I'll keep in touch on this forum. Advice is always appreciated.
Agnes
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Moira Thomson - Thursday, 24 February 2011, 08:47 AM
 

If you need extra time to complete the course, let me know and I will arrange an extension of your enrolement. 

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Re: Agnes' response to Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Antonia Gowdy - Saturday, 26 February 2011, 02:24 PM
 

I currently work in a private primary school so am not faced with many of the behaviour problems that you meet in mainstream primary and high schools – I tend to work with less than 10 students at a time as well. That is not to say that I have no 'behaviour issues', but I tend to try and identify what the trigger is to the behaviour. Sometimes it can be the make-up of a group (i.e. a certain group of 13 year old boys together who have been sent to me for handwriting practice). In cases like this I try and make my lessons interesting (e.g. we use 'Ridley's "Believe It Or Not" and "The Guinness Book of Records" and I let the students select a passage each that they will then practice writing in D'Nelian) Once I have established a good teacher-student relationship with students, I try and be light hearted and use humour in my classes. I also use positive reinforcement systems, and once in a while a chocolate coin reward J “Catch them being good!”
RE: physical barriers in the classrooms in my school, I feel it is the lack of Assistive Technology/ICT resources that are holding back many of my students with dyslexia. We have a few Smart Boards in the school, but most students are still expected to copy from the whiteboard and to do extended writing by hand. I have also noted a main barrier to optimal learning/student success in our French program. Each student receives 4 periods of French a week and students are split into 4 different year group classes depending on ability. Unfortunately, many of my students with dyslexia have excellent expressive language but struggle immensely when faced with learning poems, long lists of vocabulary and with writing, which tends to be a large component of the lesson. The French style of teaching is very traditional in style (with little or no differentiation), and I feel that many of my students are actually placed in the wrong class – they are placed on written rather than expressive ability, and this compounds some students’ already low self-esteem. 
The student that I teach who has severe hearing issues also has a 'motivation book' (we don't call it that - it's more like a home-school communication book) in which the student identifies (with help from her mum) what she feels went well during the school day and what she struggled with. All specialist teachers are encouraged to write in this book, and to try and keep comments as positive as possible as this child has extremely low self-esteem and has a tendency to hide behind her disability.

I find collaboration/sharing of information between staff to be almost impossible although I realise the importance of it. I rarely manage get to the staff room (it is 4 floors away), so much of the communication I do is through email. We have Google chat which has proved useful a few times, but it’s not the same as actually sitting down with a student’s teacher for a 15 minutes catch up. For me, lack of time can also be considered a Barrier to Learning.

Good luck, Agnes, with your next busy few weeks – it has been really interesting reading your postings. Antonia.

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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Agnes Coles-Reichman - Wednesday, 30 March 2011, 12:15 PM
 
EAL barriers
In many schools I work in I come across EAL students, which in my view, have been put in classes which are well below their ability level. I have watched most of the video links recommended by this course and most focus on the language problems that these students and their parents face. I think there are are other issues too, such as new subjects, that are not taught in their own country or subjects  taught differently. In Scotland students choose their subjects for exams at the end of their second year. Sometimes when students join the school during their third or fourth year they are put in groups where there is space, usually lower ability groups, which tend to be smaller. Although to start with, this is probably the right choice, these students have not got a chance to progress as quickly as they may have done in a higher ability group. Sometimes it is not 'cool' to be too good and, if they want to make friends, they may not perform as well as they could, certainly not in public. Peer pressure plays an important role, particularly with some groups of boys.
EAL students tend to get learning support when they start at a school, but most quickly catch up and the support stops. What they do need is ongoing psychological support, to cope with peer pressure, as well as a few carefully chosen buddies to help them in class. 
Agnes Coles-Reichman
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Agnes Coles-Reichman - Monday, 11 April 2011, 10:39 AM
 
As I have worked my way through this course I have found that one thing that seems to help in almost all circumstances where there are barriers to learning is the size of the group of students involved. Any student who cannot achieve his/her potential in a normal class, will do better in a small group with specialised staff helping him/her. This goes also for extremely bright students who need an extra challenge and with that challenge some extra tuition. This doesn't need to take a lot of time, perhaps only 10-15 minutes of special care.
I have been working as a supply teacher since 1997 and seen many different strategies in lots of different schools. Most schools have facilities for for SEN pupils, but less and less schools have special facilities for pupils with behavioural problems, such as a room these students can go to to cool down, or to work away from their class mates under the supervision of trained staff.
The video ' Support for an international student body' shows very clearly the positive effect of an extended pupil support team, not just for students who arrive from abroad, but also for those who have behavioural (often linked to) learning problems. Finding out where the problems come from, supporting each student in  taking responsibility for their actions and training staff to help the students may be  costly in the short term, but surely is justified in the long run, as it results in confident and responsible adults leaving school, as advocated by the CfE.
Agnes
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Peter Sharp - Monday, 30 April 2012, 10:54 AM
 

My current role is now full time pupil support where previously I was a specialist RMPS Teacher. I have responsibility for tutorials for our current first years of whom most have a diagnosis of dyslexia. What I have found is that although they have this barrier to their learning what is more of a barrier is their lack of self confidence within the curriculum. This barrier holds them not just back but holds them down thereby preventing progress. At the moment I am concentrating on their phonic blends in an attempt to assist their spelling. They are spelling pretty well at the moment but before we 'do the spelling test' I ask how many they think they will get correct. As a group they usually state that they will only get a few correct. Once we have 'marked' them, they are astounded to have achieved 7/10 or more. As a result I am now concentrating more on building their self confidence as learners.

The strategy mainly used with these tutorials is assessing their preferred learning styles. I have found that most of the group members or firstly visual learners and a secondary learning style of kinaesthetic. As a result I have altered my teaching pedagogy to match this. So far this has started to raise the 'enjoyment' level of the group and we can now start to make inroads into assisting their learning needs.

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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Lorena Murua Lopez - Sunday, 28 October 2012, 04:43 PM
 

Hi Peter,

I am starting a nurture group in my primary school. The theory that underlies this initiative proposes that behavioural issues, disengagement, self- denying and other attitudes that are barriers to learning are the result of the lack of a healthy attachment to an adult during the first period in the child's life. Therefore, it is hoped that the group of 6-8 children will benefit from spending meaningful time with an adult, in order to develop trust, respect and self-esteem. I find your programme very interesting as it helped me to reflect on the link between disruptive behaviour and the need to hide and cover something else, such as emotional or learning difficulties. Perhaps disaffected and disengaged children need an adult to spend one-to-one time with them in order to develop social health and well being skills, as well as more academic skills such as literacy and numeracy.
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Re: Barriers to learning in my classroom.
by Lorena Murua Lopez - Sunday, 28 October 2012, 04:44 PM
 
Throughout this course I have broadened and deepened my awareness and understanding of many factors that influence the development of children. I have come across many of these concepts during my teaching career and it has been useful to revisit them and keep them in mind during the planning and implementing of lessons. 9 out of the 23 children in my class speak English as an additional language and the course has provided weblinks that lead to resources that will improve my ability to meet the learning needs of all the pupils in my class.

Challenging behaviour as a barrier to learning is the part that most interests me at the moment. This is because in my school, I will be implementing a peer mediators programme. The videos are very helpful as I can see specific strategies, such as questioning, mirroring, listening etc. that the children could learn and use in the school. So I find the strategies suggested as a starting point to create activities that can help promote the school ethos, positive behaviour and emotional well being. I now have specific tools to help me to address the needs of the peer mediators in my school as well as to deal with behaviour incidents in the classroom.