The following testimonials are a selection of comments provided when participants complete their post-course evaluation, and evaluate the success of their goals 90 days after passing their course.
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“I feel that I have a better understanding of just how much the classroom environment and resources can affect a student’s willingness and ability to learn. Furthermore, although I have always been aware that certain students do not accept praise, especially in front of their peers, I had never thought to say things like "I have enjoyed working with you/this group this lesson." and have always relied on sending praise postcards home.
Understanding and Supporting Behaviour
“The main outcome of taking part in the course has for me been to question how effective I am as a Teaching Assistant both in delivering my own lessons and in those lessons in which I support the class teacher. I have learnt how to approach my teaching in a variety of ways, and how by using different strategies with the children I work with I can improve their learning in a positive way.
“This course has really opened my eyes to children, the way they move and organise themselves in the school environment. On learning walks around school I can now see with really fresh eyes. I am also able to contribute to discussions with the SENCO about the nature of the difficulties some children are experiencing. I would like any SEND governors that I meet to undertake this course and any of the other OLT course. They are invaluable to all colleagues working in the school environment. I have also made contact with the local Physio and OT team on behalf of school. Great networking opportunities...
“What became clear was the need to avoid rushing into larger targets. In my practice now I select much more manageable targets for these children, thus enabling them to approach their learning with realistic and reachable goals.
“This training has made me consider how the children with MSI percieve the word around them. I am trying to eliminate unnecessary noise and visual distractions, repeating things when important and starting sentences with the child's name. I am thinking more about the needs of the child first.
“From implemented strategies, progress has already been seen to happen - demonstrating the usefulness of this training and the theory behind learning and classroom assessments and interventions.
“After doing this course I now evaluate all the lessons I am involved in, especially the literacy lesson I teach. I have now changed the way I work with the less able children of the group, instead of them all doing the same I have given them slightly different ways to learn the sounds and words we work on. I have already seen an improvement in all of them. Working at their pace has definitely helped their learning.
“I have also learnt how to break down tasks so it’s easier for the children to understand and easier to teach each stage at a time. I have been shown lots of activity ideas. I have learnt lots more that we will be using all the time and sharing with other staff.
Dyspraxia and Motor Coordination Difficulties
“I will use what I have learnt to provide input when preparing plans for a child’s learning. I have much more confidence when thinking of interventions to put in place.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
“Before starting this course, I had no knowledge of dyslexia. I thought it was just a case of ‘swimming letters’ when trying to read and confusing b and d and p and q when writing. I now realise that there is much more to it than just these possible traits I have learnt the importance of a dyslexia friendly workplace. We try to make our classrooms as appealing as possible to the majority of students, but fail to take into account the needs of a dyslexic pupil. Something as simple as changing the background on the smartboard from white to buff could make a huge difference. Labelling trays with images rather than just words could save everybody's time, rather than just that of our struggling pupils.
“Providing structured choices throughout the school day is a strategy I have adopted with children who have a need to exert control. These are often children who have experienced a lack of control and autonomy in their early years. Providing them with regular opportunities to make choices and control their immediate environment can assist in avoiding power battles and oppositional behaviour. The choices do not need to be big or significant to have an impact on the child’s experience of the classroom.
Attachment and Trauma
“I have enjoyed and found it very useful hearing other peoples’ goals and interventions and sharing ideas and hope to continue with learning more about others’ strategies.
Learning Support Assistant (LSA)
Understanding and Supporting Behaviour