Reflecting on Learning Support

The first excerpt chosen is Sequence One. This sequence shows a number of scenarios where Learning Support Assistants are deployed in different roles. It starts with an interview with a teacher and assistant explain how they work together. This is followed by assistants who are bilingual, supporting non-English speakers in school. The content of the excerpt also shows assistants at work in the class offering one-one support as well as small discussion groups. Role play is featured examining how the assistant relates to children during that time. We also learn of the assistant’s role in the playground. This can be a challenging time and the assistants speak of their personal interaction that occurs in that situation. The final clip is that of a Physical Education class and the use of an assistant that uses sign language to not only deaf pupils but to the whole class.

The second excerpt chosen is Sequence Five. This sequence is called Pop Stars. The pupils are given a task to develop a project about a Pop Star. The project is explained by a pupil who describes the requirements of the project in great detail. The class are set into groups and must arrange a serious of tasks relating to a pop group. The various roles and tasks must be discussed and agreed by each member of the group. To complete the tasks requires each members of the group to use different areas of the curriculum such as; Maths, Art, Information Technology and Geography. They use the internet as a resource to achieve some of their objectives. The group then collaborate their learning and produce the completed project.

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Learning and Learning Support

Sequence One- Teaching Assistants at work

This Sequence shows a number of teaching and support methods in and out of the classroom. They are many parts that show children actively exploring and developing in a very stimulating environment. There are main teaching mediums demonstrated including of the use of technology, practical activities, outdoor activities, discussion groups, one to one support, playground activities and children role playing. The activities shown are clearly very well planned with an appropriate amount of input from the classroom assistants. These interactions throughout the Sequence one show the children interacting with the teachers, assistants as well as from their own peers.

The children were always encouraged to express themselves openly during all of the interactions with the assistants. The assistants seemed to take every opportunity to develop the children’s learning, even when role playing “Counting the number of days Teddy was to be in hospital.” They also showed a great awareness of the child’s needs, offering of guidance when needed. This helped to encouraged the children to take control of their own learning. The last clip shows a little girl using sign language, although she was not deaf, she had learned to sign for the benefit of the whole class. This enabled the student to support the pupils, teachers and assistants from her class.

The relationship that is created with children is very important for all involved in their learning. Understanding what a child needs in the classroom, as well as out of class, allows us to develop strategies that best support the child’s learning. From the Sequence shown we saw how children learn and interact with each other as with school staff. There are many different kinds of learning in the excerpt , showing children who learn in different ways. Some need visual, audio, readers, sign language, bilingual or a combination of all of these. The assistants have an ideal chance to develop a more personal relationship with children. This makes sure that the child’s support needs are being met on a daily basis. The assistants in the clip spoke of building trust with the children and their family, therefore making learning accessible to all. These positive and respectful interactions, which was seen during sequence one, facilitates the development of self control, self esteem and independence of children.

As part of an educational team the assistant aim is assisting in identifying what kind of learner a child is. This relationship that develops and nurture is very important to everyone involved with the child. Throughout the sequence we heard that the children would look forward to the assistant being in class or helping with work or situations that they were unsure off. Positive role models can play a huge part in any child’s life. Some of the assistants in Sequence one had a major impact how the children interacted within the playground. They saw themselves as role models for appropriate social interaction and behaviour. They achieved this by using a different approach which the child could recognise. All of this was completed within the schools set school framework.

A classroom assistant is in a privileged position in a school. Assistants can take the time to observe a child as a whole rather than in separate parts. With this opportunity the assistant show great flexibility, willingness to reflect and open minded outlook. These skills will help each child with development appropriate learning skills. In the classroom they play a supportive role to the children and to the teacher. Within discussion groups they can use a structures strategy to develop the child’s learning. The assistants interacted in a positive manor, correcting unwanted behaviours and exhibiting correct interactions. “Using a different language but always the same message as the teacher.”

The use of bilingual assistants covered in the sequence shows that this could increase not only the children’s confidence but also that of their parents. The fact that someone can converse in their native language was of huge support to the school. The assistants ability to personally connect with the child and their families, allows for greater trust of the whole education establishment.

Sequence Five-Pop Stars

The most striking thing about this sequence is that the pupils are describing the task they were involved in. This was a cross curricula activity which saw them develop a pop group which they had to promote. They also had to develop a branding for the group, organise a tour and manage the groups finances. The pupils used many different art and computer based resources to develop the band identity. They also used the internet to arrange countries to tour as well as create posters to promote the band. The use of technology allowed the pupils to see this as a “fun way” of completing some very important tasks.

There was a varied amount of activities that the pupils were involved in. The pupils developed strategies which enabled them to research information and make appropriate decisions. Each pupil seemed to have their own task. The groups developed the ground rules by using discussion groups. The project was broken into little pieces and each pupil was encouraged to express their point of view. This also encourages the support from their peers and the use of co-operative learning. The pupils were very enthusiastic about the task and seemed to enjoy the fact that they owned the project. They felt that it was “work and play” and took great care to produce an excellent project.

When children are enjoying school work we can observe a different side to them. The pupils here can be seen not only developing their academic skills but also their social interactions with each others. “Talk and interact with other people” was what one of the girls in the clip explains the project was all about. These social skills are a major part that everyone needs to develop in society. Social skills that are learned early in life have a big impact. With this type of learning pupils are more at ease in school and can be more considerate of others.

For this sequence the adult’s interaction was to give clear instructions at the beginning of the task. The teacher would arrange the aims and objectives of the task. They would encourage the pupils to develop the correct social procedures regarding group work and supervise the group choice. They then would take a supportive role allowing the pupils to take full ownership of their project. The adult would then offer support, when needed to pupils who requested it or just strayed of task. The adults would model correct social behaviour and watch the pupil’s interactions giving feedback when needed, thus enabling the pupils to take ownership of the project.

This project has groups of pupils learning different ideas that are related to each other. This seems the best way to ensure that pupils grasp the concept. The selected pupils teach the others in the

group. This activity reinforces ideas and it would have stimulated the pupils own learning as they developed their ideas together in a group. This identifies that pupils who are embedded in their education and are allowed to become involved in their own learning, cannot define the difference between learning and play. If school is boring for the pupils then it can become a negative environment for some.

Conclusion

Within the sequences we watched a number of well executed learning experiences. We witnesed constructive and socio-constructive theories. Constructive learning did take palce in the sequences. This involved some of the children were learning from the environment that they live in. Most of the learning we saw was socio-constructive when the children were learning from their social interactions with others. These social interactions with their peers or with trusted adults were vital to continual learning. All the assistants in the excerpt showed great skill and understanding how to motivate a child. This allowed them to develop and build personal relationship with the children, enabling them to bridge gaps in their knowledge or to build on their existing knowledge.

During the excerpts there was some very good practice that I would like to introduce to my everyday interactions with children. The impact on my practice will be to increase my observations of children at all times. These observations will allow more opportunities to provide a learning experience for the child. I must then communicate effectively to the educational team, which I must play a greater role in. This development will enhance my relationships with children as well as the teaching staff. It will give the opportunity for me to experience how other people acquire knowledge. This part of the course has given me the potential to develop my role as a classroom assistant further. Through my study of this area I have gained many new theories, which I will adapt and share with my colleges.