An Introduction from Dr. Vidhya, Learning Support Assistant (Secondary)

I am a Secondary Teaching Assistant at the Gatwick School.

Teaching has always been my passion and I possess a keen penchant to impart knowledge to the students.

I specialise in providing Reading, Writing and Literacy Skills Support as well as a few Numeracy sessions. I provide In-class support across all secondary year groups (Year 7 to year 10) as well as offering one to one support. I work with a select group of students if the task demands it. I also run interventions based on Vocabulary, Literacy and Independent Reading. A love of working with students and the ability to manage groups of students act as a driving force for me to help my students achieve significant progress.

I believe that helping a student develop independence in all aspects of their life is a key part of my role, and this includes allowing a student to make mistakes and to look for their own ways to solve problems. Rather than taking over when a student is struggling to achieve something, I offer the tools to help the student succeed.

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My aim as a Learning Support Assistant is to provide the extra support for students with additional needs to give them access to the mainstream curriculum (although possibly not the whole programme of study). Their work shouldn't be too different from what the rest of the class is doing, but may be adapted to take account of the child’s individual learning needs and style. I act as a bridge, facilitating them to fully achieve what they are capable of by using different teaching styles and simplified texts and techniques.

The success of my support for an individual child depends on close liaison with the teaching staff, and the whole school's determination that the student be a fully included member from the outset. I also believe that allowing myself to become 'glued' to the side of a student will prevent the child from becoming independent, and making their own friends. Therefore I feel that my effective support will enable the student to develop the skills necessary to become an independent learner, competent, confident and valued within the school and the wider community.

Especially in year 9 and 10, the emphasis will be on the preparation of the vast range of curriculum materials. Again, I prepare these in advance after close consultation with the teacher. Materials might include tactile maps, diagrams, easy to infer worksheets etc. I may also be involved in pre-teaching, revision and study skills sessions if these have been identified as a priority, and may act as a scribe or a reader in assessments/examinations.

 A greater part of my role is also tasked with:

  • Assessing the frequency of particular behaviour 
  • Reactions to different activities, teachers and environments
  • Amount of time spent on or off task and the amount of work completed, compared with their peers
  • How different peers affect the students’ behaviour
  • Strategies that seem to be effective.

Providing behavioural support and assessing behaviour during lessons can sometimes be a tricky job to do especially with secondary school students.

  • I try to be as calm as possible and try to put myself in their shoes and aim to reinforce the teacher’s expectations and the behaviour management system of the school
  • I remind the child/student – in a positive way – of the rules, and how the teacher wants them to behave
  • I ensure the student’s understanding of the instructions and how to succeed in the task
  • I redirect the student back to the task when their attention wanders, and give praise for their perseverance when it is deserved
  • I acknowledge every aspect of good behaviour, making sure the student knows that the teacher in the class has noticed it
  • I anticipate when a ‘trigger point’ is approaching and step in quickly to avert a negative reaction
  • I explain the choices that the student can make – and the consequences

Planning interventions and filing intervention reports

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I plan out different ways and means to make the students, learning and writing an easy and fruitful experience. I prepare Ready Reckoner references for English & Maths which stimulates them in easy free flow of writing and solving problems /calculations effectively. I do wish to offer more planned interventions and also assist as many as students possible. I also focus on maintaining weekly reports of students with whom I have interventions. This facilitates easy access to work they have done throughout the year and also acts as an evidence of their academic progress.

Praise - sense of achievement & motivation to move forward

I am always delighted when I hear from teachers that my support in their lessons is much appreciated and valuable. And I do feel glad of the fact I have been successful in instilling real passion in young minds for learning, and inspiring them to achieve progress in their academic performance.

I feel a great sense of purpose and involvement in this esteemed school. I have found this enhanced role to be empowering and have thoroughly enjoyed the change in status and opportunities that it has brought to me and look forward to making wonderful contributions in the near future as well.

Onwards and Upwards

Dr. Vidhya, Learning Support Assistant (Secondary)