My role in school is quite specialized, I work with children from FS2 to Year 2, supporting them with Speech and Language and other aspects of Literacy. Most of my work is based round small groups of targeted children, who are withdrawn from the class environment for short periods of time to work on their specific needs. My role has evolved over the last 6 years, when I moved from full-time class teacher to part time SEN support and now general Literacy support. Although, my position changed i had no specific training (until now) to compliment this so all my knowledge has been self-taught. For my personal development, this course has given me an excellent background in understanding language and possible barriers for children, some of which i had never heard of e.g. Blank and others where i had misconceptions, e.g. ICWs. I feel confident to write reports for referrals and explain issues to parents.
Even though I already did some (I'm now doing many more) of the practical tasks suggested on the course, it was reassuring to know that these activities are appropriate and beneficial. The monthly sessions and portfolio work gave me an opportunity to understand and reflect why and how this would develop children's communication skills. It has made me much more aware of my own practise e.g. I ask too many questions and do not give children enough time to formulate answer!
As joint Literacy Leader for the school, I am in a very privileged position to implement change, not just in a class but a whole school. i have already delivered a staff meeting on Vocabulary and all support staff will receive Blank training in June, so that they can ask the appropriate questions and develop the children's understanding, in and out of the class, to improve behavior and relationships.New resources have been purchased and an EAL TA employed, in the bid to improve communication for children and raise standards.
I will continue to ensure that speech and language remains an absolute priority in out school (where 70% of the children enter with below age expectation communication skills). i need to ensure that work I do in small groups, ripples out to classes, so that is becomes part of the normal class environment, and not just a support group.
Thank you Elklan, for such a thought-provoking, practical and interesting course. Although, it has been intense and time demanding, it has inspired many changes in me and hopefully these positives will be reflected in the whole school, to make it a more communication friendly place.
Lou Parnaby has been an ideal tutor, her obvious passion and enthusiasm for promoting communication has been completely infectious.