Support Learning Activities
1. Be able to contribute to planning learning activities
1.1 Explain how a learning support practitioner may contribute to the planning, delivery and review of learning activities
The Leaning Support Practitioner or Teaching Assistant works directly under the Teacher following their curriculum and directions. The TA does not only have to be fully briefed about the Teacher’s planning learning activities but also to be involved in the planning and preparation of the planning activities so that they are aware of what is going to happen in the classroom and can support the Teacher’s work. TA will learn from the Teacher how to plan lessons and learning activities. Planning involved a decision about what will be done, when, how to plan and with which pupils. The participation of the TA in planning activities, depend on their qualifications, expertise, experience and job description and has to support the ethos of the school. It is a duty of the TA in the planning and preparation stage to get the classroom ready for the specific learning activity such us distribution of learning materials, arrangements desks and tidying up after the activities. If TA has concerns about the implementation of the planned activities, TA should share them with the Teacher, also they could contribute in finding solution by giving new ideas and learning strategies they could be used in organising and preparing learning activities. The concerns may be lack of appropriate learning materials, time restrictions, learning environment such as bad weather, the role or proficiency of the TA.
In order to support the process of learning the TA and the Teacher can share the workload between each other in different ways, according to previous planning and depending on experience and training. The duration of the learning activities can be a part of lesson, a single lesson or several consecutive lessons, and can be planned for individual pupils, groups of pupils or the whole class. The TA has also to take into consideration the way children learn and develop and the factors influencing learning, and immediately report any problem to the Teacher. The learning materials have to be suitable for the age, maturity and abilities of the pupils and also address the individual learning needs. The TA’s responsibilities also includes supporting pupils to follow instructions and to keep focussing on the task, by prompting reticent pupils, explaining new words, and to insure pupils are following the Teacher’s instructions, helping them to use resources and using praise to reward good work. To motive pupils they have to reward desirable behaviour with positive reinforcement and also discourage negative attitude, this will encourage pupils to take responsibility for their learning.
The TA’s role in review of the pupil’s progress is also essential since they are present at all learning activities and are deeply involved in the pupils’ life in the school, not only by being part of the regular learning activities but also by being role models and mediating important values about confidence, self-esteem and acceptance to the children. The TA support the Teacher by carrying out different type of observations in the classroom and provide information about how well the learning activities went , what was the pupils ‘response and where they needed help. The feedback from the TA has to be realistic and fair picture about the success of the learning activities according to the evaluation measures in the planning stages. Teacher can monitor the progress and development of each pupil throughout the term referring on the records of information about children collected by TA from parents or carers.
1.2 Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to supporting learning activities and how these may impact on the support that can be provided
My own strengths are willing to learn new skills, using common sense and discipline where needed, being positive, enthusiastic, contribute, using initiative to provide help and support where needed, approachable and punctuality. My strengths impact on support that I can provide in positive way, this usually encourages children to approach their work and be able to do it themselves.
At start of day, I read the plan and of the day and the teacher would give me the tasks depend on group I would be working with. I usually try to find out first what type of learners I would be working with, find out the methods helped them to re-engage and tried to work around their experiences and interests. However, supporting teaching the whole class is more difficult for me as I am still not confident in stand up in front of a bigger group. Learning in small groups is advantageous in regards of developing communication, social and team work skills, but requires the teacher assistant to take up the leader role and persuade children to pay attention and follow the instructions. I am quite confident in finding creative ways of supporting mathematics and confident with the use different materials where children can learn while playing.
3. Be able to support learning activities
3.2 Explain how social organisation and relationships may affect the learning process
Social organisation and relationships may affect learning process in many different ways. Children will be set in groups according to their ability in many subjects, this allow them to move forward with their learning not to be held up by learners that may need more support, which can be given by the teacher assistant or teacher.
All pupils need to be continually assessed and monitored through testing and teacher assessment to allow rapid change in groups when needed also to make sure progress is being made. However, there is a significant problem with settings by ability; no matter how many wonderful names you give the lower sets; all children are aware of which set they are in and this can lead to low self-esteem and confidence and can have a negative effect on their learning. It can also lead to bulling and name calling from other children. Although sometimes it is also beneficial for them to be of mixed ability so the children are able to peer mentor, thus improving their self-esteem, confidence and social skills while giving them a sense of achievement.
Children working in groups built up a relationship. Depending on the group this relationship can make them achieve more if they get on well or they will achieve less if the situation is the opposite. Each child’s development stage will be different as we are already aware when one child is more mature another might still be childish in his/her behaviour. Some will be able to finish their work quickly whilst others will still be fidgeting with their pencils.
In a group there might be a person causing disruption which would keep all the others from working their work. It is essential to stop this disruption from taking place. The Staff has to deal with any interruption in a professional way so that others don’t get interrupted. Pupils also watch the ways adults interact with pupils. Last time I praised a child who had finished her work which made the others in the group finish theirs quickly too. It is also very necessary to use easy language when talking to children so they can understand what they have to do.
3.6 Explain the sorts of problems that might occur when supporting learning activities and how to deal with these
One of the problems that might occur is that pupils find something difficult to understand. I could try to simplify the activity for children to make it easier for them. I have to be confident in dealing with problems that might occur when supporting learning activities and should be prepared to deal with them. The pupils may find the activities not interesting enough. The best way to deal with it is to make it more interesting for them by involving them more. Some children may disrupt the lesson due to their behaviour. It is important to find out the reason for the disruption and sort out the problem. The children may need more challenging work as it may be too easy for them.
Sometimes we might notice that the learning equipment is not working. There could be inadequate writing materials or not enough worksheets for all children. This problem could be dealt by checking beforehand and if it was possible to have a back-up plan ready. Another issue may be the learning environment might not be suitable for the children. It might too much noise to distract the pupils, or there is not enough space for a certain activities. For example when there is a bad weather pupils will not be able to play outside they stay indoor so we always try to find creative activities such as drawing, imaginary play, and so on to make sure they are occupied and playing. The teacher assistant should try to resolve these issues in a reasonable way.
5. Be able to contribute to the evaluation of learning activities
5.1 Explain the importance of evaluating learning activities
The importance of evaluating learning activities is to help future planning to see what worked, what didn’t and what to change next time. This forms part of the cycle of plan, deliver and review. Spending time going through the learning activities and seeing how pupils has responded to a certain task or question, can really help re-shape it next time. It is important to look back to the learning objects to measure what the children have learned. Leaning objectives need to be clear for this to be able to assess pupils against them. Evaluating helps teachers to see if something is succeeding or may need changing.
If pupils whizzed through the activity and then look rather bored then there is a need to try and make it more engaging and stimulating. Also if the activities are taking longer than expected and see that the pupils are really struggling, things again would need to be addressed. Without evaluation the learning activities would be rather unbending and any mistakes would never be truly tackled. Therefore evaluating the activities and improving based on the findings will help Teacher and pupils move forward and have the best possible learning experience.
6. Be able to evaluate own practice in relation to supporting literacy, numeracy and ICT
6.1 Evaluate how own knowledge, understanding and skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT impact on practice
6.2 Develop a plan for improving own knowledge, understanding and skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT
I believe I know how to find information from books and know how to use internet to find information also I believe I could look things up in different sources. I occasionally takes notes although could improve on notes I make. I believe I am confident to give feedback and information clearly to the teacher I am working with. I am happy to write information for others although could give more detail in what I write. I like reading books, I started to ready to a small group of children in nursery after lunch break. I have a workplace diary; I always do my best to listen to others but struggle with tasks with more than one aspect to them. I could definitely improve on my spelling ability I often mixed up with other languages such as French when I am writing words that are similar in both languages.
As for numeracy this a subject in which I am confident in my own ability as it was something I had a better understanding of when I was at school. Also the sensible way that numeracy develop on what is already known, I know how to use different methods to be able to break the tasks down in to easier simple tasks for children who had difficulties in understanding the tasks. I am confident with most numeracy methods but I still have to improve partly due to the fact that I studied in different language and the strategies for some mathematical activities are solved very differently here that I would had been used to. Luckily I am more willing in Maths than other subjects as I comprehend quicker once I see it in use, and I can straight away adapt new methods.
I have found that my ability in ICT has improved over time as we are in era of technology. I understand about the safety of use of the computers not just thinking about the unsafe of cables but also computer ergonomics and e-safety. I am aware of the e-safety policy of the school; I can assist children in their programme when I am supporting them in ICT. I am confident with the use of ICT equipment used at school when I am not sure I ask for assistance or I can ready the manual if necessary.
Finally I improve my knowledge, understanding and skills every day as I always try my best in every activity I do in literacy (spelling, phonics), numeracy (methods) and ICT every day by emails, printing, scanning, web search, supporting children in their activities.
Moodle class notes