High-quality and inclusive teaching practices

How should teachers plan to support the SEN children in their lessons? Expert Natalie Packer, an independent education consultant specialising in SEN and school improvement, discusses what inclusive high-quality teaching looks like in SecEd.

“High-quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching.” Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (p99), Department for Education, January 2015.

In the not too distant past, if you asked teachers the question – “who is responsible for students with SEN in your school?” – the answer would possibly have been “the SENCO”. Hopefully, this is no longer the case, as there is a growing recognition, fuelled by the key messages within the Code of Practice and the Teachers’ Standards, that all teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all learners, including those who have additional needs. 

High-quality teaching for pupils with SEN is about the day-to-day interactions that take place in your classroom and the different pedagogical approaches you use to engage, motivate and challenge learners. It is about the way you use assessment and feedback to identify gaps and help students to move on in their learning. It is about providing both support and challenge in order to enable them to achieve more.

On a practical level, high-quality teaching involves the teacher drawing on a range of strategies that are closely matched to the learning objectives of the lesson (which, in turn, will match the particular learning needs of the students in the class). However, the real “test” of whether high-quality teaching is in place is not necessarily what the teaching includes, but what the students achieve (i.e. the learning outcomes)

The high-quality jigsaw

So what elements of teaching are most likely to lead to excellent outcomes and what does an inclusive lesson look like? We can think about a lesson as being a bit like a jigsaw that contains many different pieces, each one links in some way to several others.

3 B4 Me

One strategy that many teachers use to support all students to become more independent is 3 B4 Me. To encourage students to overcome challenges when they get stuck with their learning, try introducing the 3 B4 Me strategy: Before a student goes to an adult for help they must try the following:

  1. Brain (think for themselves).

  2. Buddy (ask a peer).

  3. Book or board (use classroom resources)

Read more suggestions and ideas High-quality and inclusive teaching practices

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: SEN and Teaching.

Comments

  1. Judith Wilson

    “High-quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching.” Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (p99), Department for Education, January 2015.

    This is all well and good, but differentiating for students with widely varying needs is an extremely time consuming job. I have worked (as a TA) alongside many wonderful teachers who were keen to prepare differentiated work to suit SEN students, but I have also worked with teachers who couldn’t wait to have these students ‘taken out’ of their classroom so that they were no longer their exclusive responsibility. I therefore have to strongly disagree with the second sentence in this quote – very often, these children have no choice but to rely on the additional intervention and support provided by the most incredibly talented and caring people imaginable…Teaching Assistants. I deliberately capitalise the title because they deserve it! A more professional and dedicated group of people you could not wish to meet. Teachers do an incredible job and, given half a chance, TAs could be (and SHOULD be) equally highly regarded. Now is the perfect time to give them the recognition they so richly deserve, to offer them the opportunity to use their huge range of skills to the fullest and to become part of a professional body. TAs cost a fraction of a teacher’s salary to employ and yet they are worth their weight in gold – ask any teacher and they will agree.

    As for the ‘3 B4 Me’ strategy, this is fine for the average mainstream student but I cannot see it working in practice for the SEN student, whose brain is very often literally wired differently. SEN students frequently have problems interpreting basic communication skills, so I think it is asking the impossible to expect them to put any of the three ideas into action, especially as they are often lacking in confidence.

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