How SEN teachers can support students online
Changes to the educational landscape in the past weeks have placed greater emphasis on online teaching and home learning.
SEN teachers have an essential role to play as a result, as they have to support a range of children with special educational needs, all with different requirements.
Just as in school, they need to ensure that the learning environment for children with SEN is both safe and secure – including any digital resources.
Online safety is key when supporting those with special educational needs, so all sites need to be checked and accessed via secure systems as much as possible.
Ideally, an SEN teacher should aim to deliver help and support that are broadly within the four key strands set out in the SEN Code of Practice, even when attempting to teach remotely.
Simplicity is key
To provide worthwhile support, SEN teachers should look to keep communications with pupils as simple as possible, so they can be easily understood.
Clear communication with parents is also important, as they might also be able to provide some support at home if they understand the activities that are being set.
Online tasks and exercises should look to stimulate ideas among pupils with SEN, but will also need to take into account any constraints that exist with the websites or technology that is being used.
It’s therefore best to use only one or two resources for a task and to give careful consideration to the desired outcomes when deciding which learning assets to use.
Personal teaching and support form a pivotal part of regular SEN teaching, and the same applies when looking to teach via digital platforms.
Face to face video chat with pupils and their parents can help an SEN teacher to maintain those bonds, and regular sessions can be used to check in on progress.
Another option is to create engaging learning videos that children with special educational needs can readily access to support their learning.
It's also beneficial if pupils can have regular contact with their teachers, which requires a clearly defined list of contact points – from being available on email or messaging apps, or on learning management systems where work can be submitted and marked digitally.
Ultimately, any tasks and support from an SEN teacher should focus on inclusivity, so that those with special educational needs are given the tools and help needed to succeed.
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