Good practice in working with learners with support needs involves:
- identifying learners with additional needs
- communicating with relevant staff to get the support needed
- delivering the support in the classroom
- tracking the support so that you can evaluate its impact and make any further adjustments as necessary
22% of learners on ACL courses declared a disability in 2013-14.
The focus of our recent network meeting for providers was “Supporting all Learners” , using resources from “Hidden Disabilities”, a teaching kit written by Jeanne Holloway for Connect Publications. The kit includes a series of summaries and tutor handbooks featuring a number of different hidden disabilities ie those which aren’t necessarily obvious such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and mental health. The kit also includes some Good Practice Guides on specific elements of supporting learners.
See here for the summaries and handbooks attached from the network meeting, with the activity from the session.
For more resources see the Learner Support section of Fenc here including Top Ten Tips and Access for All document, published by the DfES as guidance for tutors. Many thanks to Pauline Pegram for signposting these resources.
There are some key strategies which come up again and again for various issues. These can be used by tutors, and will benefit all learners, for example:
- be positive – recognise and celebrate what the learners can do well
- differentiation – ensure that activities are differentiated for the different individual in your group when appropriate, and use a variety of learning styles including kinaesthetic and visual
- instructions and questions – make them clear and logical
- readability – organise text and reading activities to aid understanding
- classroom management – make sure you consider the organisation of your classroom environment to make things easier for all learners
- organisation – provide resources such as highlighter pens and post-it notes to help learners organise their learning
In addition there may be assistive technologies that can help individual learners. For example a hearing loop to help a learner with hearing loss, or text-to-speech software which reads aloud what is on screen for those with low vision.
For more ideas on assistive technologies see these websites:
https://mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk/ – My Computer My Way
http://mystudybar.blogspot.co.uk/ – My Study Bar
http://www.texthelp.com/UK – apps to help support reading and writing
Don’t forget that learners can change many settings easily on a PC using the Microsoft Ease of Access centre, which can be accessed via the Start Button and then the Control Panel.