SOLD OUT

Thank you to everyone who has bought the paperback version of A Practical Guide to Supporting EAL and SEN Learners.

Sadly we are sold out ………. However there are lots of digital versions available for £15.00.

Just pay via paypal and it will be sent by return.

 

 

Inclusion – Support for a professional discussion

I have just read and reblogged a reply to Tom Sherringhams post about inclusion and exclusion in relation to the learning of others by the small group who inevitably thwart our behaviour systems and sanctions. http://headguruteacher.com/2015/01/04/inclusion-and-exclusion-in-a-community-school/

Since doing this I have re. read some of it and began focussing on the SEND part of the article. The partially sighted boy is a great example to use (see below for an extract) for many to understand the entitlement of these students. However, there are many others out there on the autistic spectrum etc. that are just not being recognised.  Some of this is because the class teacher knows that something is wrong/different but cannot put their finger on it, hence the book A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN pupils. It is for these very practitioners so that they can then talk to the SEN department/ Headteacher/consultant with more evidence for a truly professional discussion.

Included in the book are tick boxes for class teachers to work out if they support the child in their classroom including asking, in relation to language development, whether the teacher speaks at a pace the child can follow, reinforces key messages and asks a range of open and closed questions.

Following on from that, is a comprehensive tick list that incorporates general learning difficulties which include all the following; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Speech,language and communication needs, Autism, Social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH), and Sensory impairment – Hearing and vision. By ticking the child’s traits it is easier to start working out where the child has a building block missing. In turn this allows the professional to have a more defined conversation rather than a vague ‘This child is not learning but distracting others. I am following our behaviour policy. What can I do?’

To support this there are further ideas throughout the book including looking at the classroom environment, provision mapping and ways to record evidence for those professional discussions. If you are interested in receiving a PDF copy or paperback @15.00 you can get more information by following the link above or email lsbooksinfo@gmail.com.

Recently in school I met a very happy young man who was wheelchair bound, and had a voice recorder to express his very good sense of humour. It was quickly made clear by him that he was very able academically, and I could see that the school had in process some great practices which ensure that he can access the curriculum. He was being taught in main stream classrooms by qualified teachers and the support assistant as part of their remit ensured that tables were heightened to allow wheelchair access etc. (see the emboldening of the sections below).  Tom (Sherringham) is correct – learning what entitlement really means can be scary to start with, and mistakes will be made, but if we always start with the premise of Every child matters then entitlement/equality/diversity etc, etc are all covered as we make sure every child has the tools needed to thrive in school.

Tom writes …. I learned a lot about the principles of SEND inclusion from a boy at KEGS who was partially sighted. His parents had had to fight hard to get him into the school and then championed his needs with passion and determination thereafter. Everything we did wrong was ‘appalling’ in their eyes and that hurt.  We made lots of mistakes and learned a lot but ultimately he did extremely well at GCSE and A level.  Our main learning was to understand the concept of entitlement: we were not doing him a favour when we made special provision for him, we were just giving him what he was entitled to; we learned not to seek gratitude for doing routine tasks; we learned that his teachers needed to teach him directly, not through his Learning Support Assistants; we learned that helping him to access most work wasn’t good enough – it had to be everything, all of the time because anything less was unacceptable.  The key here was getting the resources in place and working with the student and the family, really listening to what they said without being defensive – even though that was hard at times. We got there in the end but he suffered – there’s no doubt about that.

As we start the new year I am sure that we will all strive to do our best, so I may just return to this towards the end of term when we are all tired and sometimes the basics can get lost in politics and all the other things that happen daily.

SEND Code of Practice – update

The new SEND Code of Practice reminds us

The bodies listed in paragraph iv. (see list below)  must have regard to the Code of Practice. This
means that whenever they are taking decisions they must give consideration to what
the Code says. They cannot ignore it. They must fulfil their statutory duties towards
children and young people with SEN or disabilities in the light of the guidance set out
in it. They must be able to demonstrate in their arrangements for children and young
people with SEN or disabilities that they are fulfilling their statutory duty to have
regard to the Code.

and that ‘Identifying and assessing SEN for children and young people whose first language is not English requires particular care’.

Something that I am particularly pleased to see addressed too often schools have stood behind ‘I only have one or two of those,’ whatever those are. I assume they are talking about those in the vulnerable category, and in my view rather than treating them with extra special care and interest they use it as a reason not to develop the child,  but subconsciously hope if they withdraw it/them in small groups then they disappear from the periphery.

All children are ‘entitled to a full and appropriate curriculum, whilst being challenged to move to the next level as soon as they are ready to do so.’

This does mean that teachers will find classes more challenging and that skills they had previously, no longer work in this new environment.

A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN learners

As school managers and leaders we must be open to this and ensure staff are trained and/or supported whilst developing the child.  Added to this the new classification (under the new code of practice) from BESD to SEMH that stands for Social, Emotional and Mental health difficulties teachers need to be more aware.

Mental Health difficulties in a child and young person manifest differently … as it does in adults. Some become quiet, withdrawn others are loud and can be verbally adept, but once asked to put pen to paper there is a difference between their abilities. The wider it is the more the alarm bells should be ringing. If you are interested a good start can be found at http://www.youngminds.org.uk/  I will write more about mental health in future posts.

To buy A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN visit the website here

SEND Code of Practice –  Who must have regard to this guidance?
iv. This Code of Practice is statutory guidance for the following organisations:
• local authorities (education, social care and relevant housing and employment
and other services)
• the governing bodies of schools, including non-maintained special schools
• the governing bodies of further education colleges and sixth form colleges
• the proprietors of academies (including free schools, University Technical
Colleges and Studio Schools)
• the management committees of pupil referral units
• independent schools and independent specialist providers approved under
section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014
• all early years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent
sectors that are funded by the local authority
• the National Health Service Commissioning Board
• clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
• NHS Trusts
• NHS Foundation Trusts
• Local Health Boards
• Youth Offending Teams and relevant youth custodial establishments
• The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (see v.)

EAL or SEN? You decide

At last Rona and I have completed our handy practical guide to help and support you as teachers through the … are they just EAL or SEN or both? minefield.

Bang up to date with the curriculum and SEN changes for the 2014/15 academic year which sees the age range higher and the introduction of a new acronym SEMH which we will all have to be familiar with not just the SENCO or EAL TA.

 

 

A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN learners

A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN learners

Structured around current legislation it gives practical support to support you in your decision making as to whether they are naughty children just trying it on or have a need that is currently not supported.

Great for new teachers or experienced alike.

Contents page EAL SEN

Contents page EAL SEN

 

For a full copy of the SEND code go to –

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342440/SEND_Code_of_Practice_approved_by_Parliament_29.07.14.pdf

For a copy of the e book priced at £15.00 (not including p and p) contact lsbooksinfo@gmail.com. Printed copies available soon.

back cover

 

Benefits of Bilingualism

Brilliant post that explains some of the benefits of bilingualism. They include;

1. A conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. Bilingual individuals can pick out a speaker’s voice easier

3. Develop creativity because learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. Patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

and finally

5. Make smarter decisions as people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language 

Really interesting thanks to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-roitman/why-it-makes-more-sense-t_b_3435076.html for this story.

Recent research suggests that learning a new language, at any age, not only will enhance your next vacation or better prepare you for an upcoming business trip, it can also make you a better listener, boost your creativity, spur brain growth, and for some people, even delay Alzheimer’s.

Each of these benefits stems from the various ways that language learning improves your brain’s ability to focus. Learning a language physically changes your mind, ultimately making you a stronger, more creative thinker. Here are five reasons why you should start learning a foreign language right now:

1. To improve your communication skills. The key here is consciousness. While most of us rarely think about the grammatical structures of our native tongue, learning a second language brings them into stark relief. When attempting to write or speak in a second language, you suddenly have to focus more on the order of words, your verb tenses, and parts of speech. And in recognizing how sentences are constructed in a second language, you can become more aware of how they’re arranged in your first language. That more conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. To become a better listener. A study at Northwestern University showed that bilingual individuals could better pick out a speaker’s voice amidst distracting noises. This superior “attention, inhibition, and encoding of sound,” as the researchers put it, can help you better focus on what a client, boss, or employee is saying. The ability to listen closely is a valuable skill that can translate into a real dollar value. Look at IKEA, which attributes its record 2012 revenues and growing appeal in part to its ability to listen to customers and then respond accordingly.

3. To boost your creativity. Every time you speak a second language is an exercise in creativity. While words in your native language might string themselves together naturally, requiring little effort on your part, constructing sentences and meaning in a second language often requires more conscious thought. A study published last year found that learning a foreign language enhanced people’s fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility, the four scales measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Researchers concluded that learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. To sharpen your mind. Learning a second language can beef up your brain’s executive control center — the hub that helps manage your cognitive processes. A second language offers a strong exercise regimen for the executive control center, ultimately making it more efficient. Bilingualism can keep this center strong even as you age. In a study of 24 million dementia patients worldwide, many of whom also had Alzheimer’s, researchers found that the patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

5. To make smarter decisions. A study completed last year showed that people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language. It seems that thinking in your native tongue is often associated with breezy, emotional decision-making that reveals natural biases. But when considering the same problem in a non-native tongue, subjects in the study demonstrated “enhanced deliberation” based more on cold hard logic. So the next time you have to make a big decision, you might get a better outcome if you consider it in a language other than your own.

As a language learner, you’ll not only become a more conscious thinker and listener who can communicate clearly and think creatively, but you’ll also gain the most significant benefit of multilingualism: a broader, more global perspective. Each of the five benefits outlined above show that learning another language really does reshape the way we think, helping us better empathize and communicate with customers, partners, and employees by adopting, through language, a new way to see the world.

Lessons to be learnt – How much trust should we give EAL TAs?

Lessons to be learnt How much trust do we give EAL TAs?

After observing some planning and teacher training in London last week the following occurred to me not as way of criticism but more as reflective practice and moving learning in the classroom along.

Clearly we should not give any teacher or TA (Teaching Assistant) 100% trust until we have assured ourselves that they are giving 100% correct instruction. As no teacher is a super teacher i.e.  never needing support, mentoring or guidance then why should we give EAL TAs (English as a second language Teaching Assistants) this trust and change policies to suit them?
Don’t  get me wrong I think TA’s and EAL TA’s in particular are great but we should not implicitly trust them to guide our youngsters in the ETHOS of the school, the teaching of academic concepts and language and assessment without having an overview of their abilities and skills ourselves as senior managers and governors.
I watched a situation recently where a group of excellent teachers were planning and talking about the use of technology available to support maths teaching. They were thinking really creatively about how they could teach in their classrooms (and not looking at a withdrawal group) a mathematical concept that the rest of the year were  learning. For me it was brilliant they were marrying their skills with technology to save time for them when planning and delivering, but increasing the children’s learning ability whilst making it interesting.

All went well until the TA that supports them became part of the discussion and within no time suddenly the TA had convinced them the group needed to be withdrawn and that it could take time for the children to learn it. What struck me most as an observer was that I had been in that situation many times but could see now that the TA  was steering our teaching. Today seeing it this way made me wonder what made these excellent practitioners take another persons word and run with it?

Why didn’t they question or try out their theory and review it if it didn’t work? They had built a translation requirement in, their practice was excellent, their topic was interesting, their own personal understanding of the concept was excellent and yet they let someone without the same or better credentials influence them and their decisions.

Something worth pondering on.

OFQUAL – results of the ESOL consultation

OFQUAL have shared their response after all of their ESOL consultations. See below.

Based upon the responses received to the consultation, and discussions that we have held with the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the Home Office, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, we have decided that:

  • We will not introduce Conditions for a new qualification called ESOL for Life in the UK.  Most of the consultation respondents felt that existing ESOL qualifications already provided appropriate qualifications for UK entry, settlement and citizenship.  In April 2013 the Home Office announced that it would accept a range of qualifications – including Ofqual-regulated ESOL qualifications – as evidence of English language competence to meet the Home Office Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) requirement.  Applicants for UK settlement and citizenship will also need to pass the Home Office’s Life in the UK Test, which is subject to stringent security arrangements.  We consider that this will go some way to mitigating the current malpractice issues.  Therefore there is no requirement to introduce a new ESOL qualification for the purposes that were outlined at the time of our consultation
  • We will introduce additional General Conditions of Recognition for ESOL International qualifications that will specify a consistent requirement for 100% external assessment and mapping to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).  There was support from stakeholders for both of these conditions
  • We will retain the additional regulation currently in place for ESOL Skills for Life (SfL).  This regulation requires ESOL SfL qualifications to demonstrate a clear relationship to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum published by BIS.  The responses from the majority of stakeholders said that they wanted this relationship to continue.  In February 2013, the Skills Funding Agency announced it would continue to support only ESOL qualifications that are based on the National Standards for Adult Literacy and the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum.  Therefore we will retain this regulation in its current form
  • We will withdraw the additional regulations currently in place for ESOL for Work.  These regulations are already covered by our General Conditions of Recognition and so this change removes duplication and streamlines regulation of this qualification

We will update the current criteria for ESOL Qualifications and General Conditions of Recognition to reflect the changes described above and publish these documents on our website

 

 

http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/results-of-our-esol-consultation/?dm_i=BTP,1GFI8,2903LB,4XY73,1

bilingual students with proficiency in both mother tongue and English outperformed students who were proficient in only one of either mother tongue or English, even when the bilingual students came from less-resourced schools

An interesting report about bilingualism in South Africa. Here are the highlights.

However, “multilingualism as a pervasive feature of the South African identity is something yet to be realised and, although learners are expected to be able to use English as the official language of learning, many are excluded from it”,

“According to the Caps [new curriculum] document, the first additional language is used for certain communicative functions in a society, meaning it is merely a medium of learning and teaching in education,” he said. The home language, on the other hand, is a tool of cultural preservation and articulation.

Ultimately, South Africa should transform through encouraging bilingualism in all levels and spheres of society, Dampier said. “If we are to proclaim a truly multilingual South African identity, we must stop viewing English as a tool for communication in the global village, business and education,” he said. It should rather be seen as an essential part of South African identity.

The Gauteng strategy aims to improve reading and writing and to change teacher practice. But, said Botha, “we have had a plethora of policies and curricula, and yet reading and writing remain a problem”.

She identified three factors that impede progress: the morale of teachers; the lack of teaching and learning programmes for them; and the new curriculum

http://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-22-tongue-tied-on-language-policy

Embracing bilingualism helps school achieve Good OFSTED report.

What great news that a school in Peterborough has improved so greatly in the past months that OFSTED have now deemed them as good. So remarkable that news papers Peterborough Today and the Daily Mail and even the radio station R2 have today run the story.

 

Readers of this blog will not be surprised that by embracing bilingualism and using it to benefit your teaching improves and speeds up the rate that the pupils learn English. I have gathered information about its benefits and the results are now starting to come through. The head teacher clearly supports this view of bilingualism and her results show that by embracing it results can be improved quickly. I believe this is the start of the educational culture change which so many schools and LA officers were resisting up until a year or so ago.

 

Head Christine Parker, 54, said: ‘More and more  of the world is  going bilingual. The culture at our school is not to see  bilingualism as  a difficulty.’

I am also hopeful that this great result will also make sure that gone are the conversations littered with  I only have one or two! or what can I do I don’t speak their language? as an excuse is changing. Gone and evidently going are the teachers plodding along teaching what is comfortable for them in such a way that it takes longer than necessary for the children to pick up the language.  Children pick up social language quite easily and it is the schools job to ensure the curriculum is taught and academic language is known and understood. In the future we should now be able to say that  Every Student does Matter.

There will be difficulties along the way as the head describes here;

‘Sometimes parents have tried to help  their  children learn English but their own isn’t too good,’ she said.  ‘The outcome is  the children aren’t fluent in their own language. If  they haven’t got a good  foundation [in their own language] it can be  very difficult to build on  that.’

but by sharing and supporting each other we can ensure that this becomes the reality.

 

Design Technology – How to support EAL learners

Design Technology is a practical subject with elements that require explanation of ideas, development of ideas using a mix of drawing and text, planning and at the end of everything evaluation. These areas are often neglected to be mentioned by senior managers as they often believe that the written element is so small it contributes little to the practical component. However this is not true in the classroom.

In the classroom young people often find it difficult to express the ideas in their heads when the classroom language is English and their first language is the same, but put your self in the shoes of an eight or thirteen year old whose first language is not English.

It is worth thinking about this at the planning stages what tools, including websites and withdrawal classes for pre teaching support, will you ensure you have to hand to support the child through the learning process?

What words will the child need to know to effectively evaluate or predict? How will you ensure that they learn these academic words alongside the other skills and practical language and skills they are learning? What is your plan if some one new is integrated into the class when you have done the groundwork with others?

Pupils who are at the emergent, developing and consolidating levels of learning EAL will benefit from planned interventions and structures to ensure they develop the language skills they need to fully access the curriculum and produce work and portfolios at the appropriate level. This cannot be left to chance it must be planned for, including ensuring if words are to be learnt they are learnt in context. Too often classrooms and workshops that I have observed, have words that may appear random to someone with very or little language of the classroom. If you must put up words, use pictures to show the product/concept and a sentence with it in context for the children to use as their starting point.

One thing you can do is to recognise the benefits of pupils using their first language at all stages of the design process and also support them to keep the language alive as this supports 2nd language acquisition, increases their self-esteem and can lead to decreased bullying incidents.