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Supporting children's development
Supporting children's development

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3.4 Effective support – how can you help?

A key role for a teaching assistant working with children with SEND is to make the curriculum accessible for the child. This can include thinking about how you can:

  • make the abstract curriculum more real to the child by linking it to their everyday experiences
  • use a range of teaching styles, and consider a child’s learning style
  • provide opportunities to talk about the task
  • scaffold the child’s learning by providing a challenge that is just beyond what the child can easily do by themselves, and then giving prompts, asking questions or modelling the steps involved in the task
  • use visuals
  • use other strategies.

In addition, it may take a child some time to understand a particular topic, or a particular child may not understand the way the teacher is explaining something due to the child’s particular learning disability. This can create challenges for you as the teaching assistant in finding different ways to explain or support a child.

As a teaching assistant it can be helpful to build up a bank of ideas that you can draw on to support different children, on a range of learning tasks. Many of the strategies used to support children are universal in that they relate to general principles of support.

The following activity introduces you to one website with a range of ideas to adapt.

Activity _unit5.3.3 Activity 9

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Visit the British Council EAL Nexus: Effective Teaching of EAL Learners [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] web page.

Read the summary list of some of the key features of EAL pedagogy. Choose one feature – for example, ‘make the abstract curriculum more concrete’ – and click on the link to the Great Ideas page.

When you have read the ideas, jot down how, in a teaching assistant role, you could use one or more of these ideas with children with SEND.

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Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Hopefully you learned some new strategies to support you in your role.