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Supporting Learning Activities and Assessment for Learning Essay

a. Explain how a learning support practitioner may contribute to the planning, delivery and review of learning activities As a teaching assistant it is important that I am actively involved in the planning stages. I need to know what the focus will be on for the term, this is done by having a discussion with the class teacher and also with other teachers and assistants that are also doing the same topic with the same aged children.

By doing this we can share ideas and suggestions. During this meeting we would discuss the curriculum and the department’s goals for the future, the desired outcomes and the range of activities and styles that could be used to promote the learning outcomes. In an informal discussion between myself and the class teacher we would determine our roles throughout the activities, what teaching styles will be used to match the needs of the individual children or groups.

Discussing the individual children and preparing to provide additional support ensuring all needs are met, any barriers that may become apparent during the lesson can be overcome without fuss. Having discussed the activities beforehand gives me the opportunity to explore the activity ensuring that I am confident in using the materials, to familiarise myself with new equipment, making sure that it is age appropriate and that it can be adapted and made simpler for the pupils that may need extra support and help.

Having discussed what activities we would be doing in the class room it is then my responsibility to prepare the class room ready, this would be done either before the children arrive or when the class teacher gathers the children on the carpet area where she will discuss the activity with them, what it involves and what is expected of them. An example of this would be the children painting a St David’s Picture for a competition. I would need to prepare enough paint, brushes and paper for each group of children, ensuring enough space and supervision.

I would give suggestions and support allowing enough time and materials so that they can explore their own creative ideas. Encouraging them to stay focused and complete the task, managing the bad behaviour, reassuring and helping, being available and easy to approach and giving individual attention. Ensuring that each child is happy with their creation, and allowed enough time to complete the activity. It would then be my responsibility to tidy away all materials used and take their pictures and arrange them tidily to dry.

After completing the activity and at a convenient time for the class teacher, we would discuss how the activity went, the progress and participation of the children and any concerns or difficulties that arised, these would then be recorded. The records are kept up to date so that we can learn from them, and come up with new strategies and also we can use the information to pass on to parents and guardians. b. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to supporting learning activities and how these may impact on the support that can be provided.

My strengths in relation to supporting lessons is that I am a very enthusiastic person, I love to try new ideas and activities, I am confident with children and enjoy encouraging children to try new things and become involved, by being enthusiastic role model seems to get children excited and eager to learn, although I have to be aware that some children need extra motivation and gentle persuasion to their individual personality. I do sometimes need to check my enthusiasm to ensure that the children are not too over excited and silly and will therefore be unable to concentrate.

I would say that my weaknesses would be that although I make sure that I am confident in what I am doing and I know what is expected of myself and the children, I find that if I am being watched i. e. from another class teacher or when the headmaster comes into the class and decides he wants to stay to watch the activity I find I get nervous and start to question my methods and how I am conducting myself, when I look back I know that everything was going really well up until the point I was being watched. I felt that I lost a bit of the enthusiasm and the fun factor and that may have caused the children to lack enthusiasm and interest.

I’m sure that when I get to know the rest of the teaching staff better, I wouldn’t get nervous and continue with the confidence I started with. If pupils see a change in my behaviour when I get nervous due to being watched they may notice this and feel uneasy themselves which may knock their confidence in themselves when they are being assessed and that would be detrimental to their learning and self esteem. My enthusiasm may come across as an allowance to become over excited and silly in the class, this is not what I want to come across, I want them be enthusiastic and alert.

I would like to be a good role model for the children and young people that I support. I believe my enthusiasm and confidence will help children and young people self esteem, however I am aware that when I am being assessed by other members of staff that my self doubting and nerves need to be worked on and although I may feel uncomfortable it is important that I don’t show this, this is something that I need to work on and with discussions with the class teacher I know that I will overcome this and work to my full potential.

c. Explain how social organisation and relationships may affect the learning process Within schools children are put into groups in order to give them the best learning potential and for their learning to be appropriate for their age and level of understanding. Some children can be easily distracted, so would work better in a smaller group with adult attention to keep them on task and encouragement to keep them focused.

Groups with children of varying ability in subjects can encourage them to help and motivate each other, increasing their self confidence, some children would feel a great sense of achievement knowing they have helped another child. Staff working with children in small groups or in a whole class must make sure all interaction with each individual must be encouragement and praise, giving help when needed but not doing the work for child. Within schools the children are grouped together in several ways, e. g. in an ability group, nurture groups, SEN groups and in EAL groups.

The children are also encouraged to join after school clubs e. g. football, beavers/ cubs, rainbows, brownies, ballet, rugby which can help them form relationships across the year groups. In my role as a teaching assistant I work to support small groups and on an individual basis. This could be inside the classroom or outdoors. I ensure that I always respond to children’s questions in a way that is understandable to them and helpful without doing the work for them. I always give encouragement, praise and support to ensure children are always motivated to listen and learn.

I to get to know each individual child within my groups, where are they in their development, strengths ,weaknesses what strategies need to be put into place to help the child reach their full potential this is so I can support them to the best of my ability and treat every child with respect and treat them fairly. d. Explain the sorts of problems that might occur when supporting learning activities and how to deal with these When I am supporting learning activities there are a number of potential problems including; Insufficient recourses.

A learning activity usually requires recourses like pencils, paper, worksheets, maths apparatus, paint pots, paints, brushes e. t. c. If there are not enough recourses for each child the learning activity would be disrupted, as someone would have to leave the room to collect more recourses, which wastes valuable learning time. A way of preventing this from occurring is by collecting enough recourses for each child before beginning the activity. It is also important to check that equipment is safe to use and in good working order and not broken in any way and that I am aware of how to use it safely.

The learning environment. If children are working on an activity that requires a lot of space, like painting, and there is not enough room for them to have access to the paint, they may quickly lose their focus on the task, so it is essential that I ensure that there is enough room for them and the recourses required. One way of dealing with such problems is to have a special painting area a table for a smaller group to use, whilst the other children are doing a different activity and await there turn, by having a smaller group there will be more space for each child and they can reach there recourses comfortably.

Noise A lot of noise will be a distraction whether it is from other children in the room, from some kind of outside disturbance such as grass cutting, or from a different area in the school like corridors or halls. I deal with these situations by shutting windows and doors to minimise the disruption. If it the children in my classroom that are being disruptive I will remind them to work quietly if they are still being disruptive I will move them to another table.

Children’s ability to learn. If any of the children are not focused on the task due to poor behaviour, I intervene straight away, I praise good behaviour with stickers and informing the class teacher how well they have done in accordance with the schools behaviour policy. I deal with bad behaviour by encouraging the children to amend their bad behaviour, but if they do not I inform the class teacher immediately so that their bad behaviour is not being disruptive to the children that are working hard. Sometimes children with low self-esteem may think that they are unable to complete a task and give up trying to do so.

I give these children lots of praise and encouragement for trying, and I would adapt the explanation so that they fully understand what is expected of them, continuing to encourage them and praise them as they continue with the task. I always encourage children to try their best, I am aware of how long children can concentrate on one task, which is why the class teacher and I adapt our planning to incorporate learning styles and strategies that will help keep each individual child’s attention to the task. I work with small groups who often have a range of abilities.

I over come this by making sure that the activities have been differentiated for all abilities. When working with a mixed ability range of children I extend the activity for children who finish first in order to keep them on task and motivated to learn more which helps their development so that they can reach their full potential, the children who struggle I will praise and encourage throughout ensuring that they fully understand the activity and have the support that they need throughout. e. Explain the importance of evaluating learning activities.

Evaluation is universally accepted as an integral part of teaching and learning. It is one of the basic components of any curriculum and plays an important role in determining what children and young people learn. Evaluating is widely acknowledged as a powerful means of improving the quality of education. The importance of the evaluating is so that teachers and the teaching assistants can decide if the activities have been successful and why, the information gathered from evaluating will then be used to determine future plans. Whilst evaluating the activity it also gives us a valuable opportunity to assess the children.

Teachers must be able to report on individual pupils participation, progress and achievement and make comparisons with previous achievement and expected standards. It is important to evaluate learning activities so that the outcomes can be used to meet the needs of the children and young people. Strenghts and weaknesses are used in future planning, if the activity does not meet the needs of the children and the curriculum, we can identify what the problems are and adapt for future use, ensuring that each individual child is considerd in the future planning.

Each individual child develops at different rates, so by considering each child we know that next time the activity is being used the outcome will be better. The information gathered is also used to share the child’s progress, with parents and the child so that they can see how they are progressing and what needs to improve and be worked on. Data is also shared with other staff, so that they can also try the activities.

The process of the activity also operates across the whole school to ensure consistency and is regularly evaluated by senior leaders to ensure that the needs of all pupils are being met. Evaluating helps the teachers and the teaching assistants to know what works well and to identify problems and adapt the activity, it also helps the children and young people to reach their full potential, and helps other staff when the data is shared. f. Evaluate how own knowledge, understanding and skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT impact on practice.

I am a confident reader, I enjoy reading to the children and get them involved in the story asking questions throughout, what they think might happen next and at the end asking if they enjoyed the story. My enthusiasm seems to encourage the children to sit quietly and listen throughout and take an active role in discussions throughout. This helps them to think creatively and may encourage them to read more books in school and at home which would improve their reading and writing skills.

If came across as somebody who was uninterested in reading and showed signs of it being a chore instead of an enjoyable experience ,the children would not actively show an interest and would lose focus and become restless and unavailable to sit patiently and they may distract others, they may also feel that reading is not an enjoyable experience, and not be encouraged to read more. Numeracy can be quite difficult for some children to grasp, It is my responsibility to ensure I know what level each child is at and adapt numeracy activities to suit each child.

I know that if a give a competent child who is at a high level for numeracy a very low level work sheet he would do it quickly and not have to think about it because it was too easy, he would not progress or learn new things, this may lead to them losing interest and become unfocused, this will affect their work and by not challenging the children with work that is suitable for their capabilities they will not stretch their minds and therefore not reach their full potential.

This would also be the same if I gave a child that finds numeracy difficult a work sheet that was far too difficult they would give up feeling very fed up losing confidence which would also damage their self esteem. Not only is it important for me to acknowledge the children capabilities I also need to know my own, there are always new methods being introduced to help children with mathematics so it is important for me to know the methods and ensure that I can help the children that I support with the correctly.

ICT has been an interesting class to support, some children that are not keen on reading, writing and numeracy seem to feel and are more comfident when we enter the computer roon, They are exited and eager to take part in these sessions. As I am supporting children aged from 6-8 we do not do anything too demanding or technical the focus is primarily to gain confidence using the mouse and key board, drawing pictures and writing simple sentences with the keyboard.

If I was to support an older age group I would discuss with the teacher what we would be doing beforehand and ensure that I am up to speed and have good knowledge of the topics and techniques we would be using, taking time out to practice the activities and get as much information as I could ready for the session, I would do this before any lesson that I am involved in.

I am there to support the children in my care, I need to be educated enough to answer the children’s questions and help them through to achieve their full potential, If I find that I am unable to help them or answer their questions I would ask the class teacher, or research the topic with the children either in books or on the internet and learn together, It is important that children know where to get information from and how. If I am unable to answer their questions and I don’t research it for them or with them, they may not know how or want to

research and learn new things. g. Develop a plan for improving own knowledge, understanding and skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT The skills which I need to improve on is my welsh language, the majority of the children in my class are being taught in welsh, only three out of a class of twenty are taught in English. I could improve my welsh by attending an evening course, but the best way of improving is by working closely with the teacher and the welsh speaking children. I was taught at school in welsh so I am refreshing and practising on what I already know.

I am a second language welsh speaker, but as I don’t use the language outside of school socially and only basic welsh at home with my children I am not as fluent as I was, I discussed this with the head teacher when I approached the school for a placement and enquired about evening courses that I could attend, he told me the best way to refresh my language was to do my placement in a welsh class, this has improved my welsh, I am far more confident speaking with the children and also with parents.

We are also aware of other languages that some of the children use as there first language in the school, we have a polish girl who will be moving up to our class next year so we are familiarising ourselves with some basic polish to help the child feel comfortable with us and so that we can help her communicate with us and the other children. I attended a numeracy course when my son started school so that I could familiarise myself with the teaching techniques that are used in the school so that I could help him with homework, this has also been very beneficial when supporting the children in my class.

Methods often change, keeping up with the new methods and familiarising myself with them is essential so that I can support the children. The school offer training to the teaching staff in the school and I would attend these courses. Although I have attended courses and had internal training in the past I know that there is always room for improvement as things change. I am always in favour of improving my knowledge and skills so that I will be better able to support the children with their lessons.

All schools include some inside training, I attended a numeracy course for parents and the teaching assistants within my school setting, this was to learn about numercy skills for primary children. I also re-sat my mathematics gcse to improve on the grade I received in school. I use the computer to complete my assignments, and I also use the laptop in the classroom to help support the children in their learning Completing my assignments has improved my literacy skills.

I aim to be a fluent welsh speaker by the time I finish this course I know this achievable as I am almost there, by the time I complete and go for job interviews my aim is to converse in welsh, as I know that this is a big plus in the welsh schools. I also aim to be a competent teaching assistant, extending my knowledge on numeracy, ict and literacy to support the children in my care. These are all achievable if I work hard in my placement, ask questions if I don’t fully understand, attend in house training and learn from my peers.

QUESTION 2 a. Compare and contrast the roles of the teacher and the learning support practitioner in assessment of learners’ achievements All children need to be assessed, this is so that each child gets the correct provision, help and support to ensure they reach their full potential, so that we can decide where they need to go and how best to get there. It is the teachers responsibility to ensure all the information gathered is accurate and detailed enough to determine what future plan can be put in place to aid further learning.

The class teacher would do this by observing, asking the child questions, listening to informal discussions and reviewing written work. In a formative assessment information gathered would help the teacher to put in place a plan immediately to help the child, or they store the information and use for future planning. In a summarative assessment, the information would be used to pass on to parents or others. As a teaching assistant I would set up activities ready for the children, I would also supervise children while the teacher is observing a child or group of children.

I also provide the teacher with feedback from activities that I have supported and supervised. As a teaching assistant I work closely with a small group of children, I provide accurate information on each child, any difficulties they may be having, I will inform the class teacher immediately with a detailed report, when this happens the teacher will then re-assess the child or group of children. The teacher’s experience can identify what we need to do to support the child.

When I provide feedback I also suggest ideas of what I feel may help the child, the class teacher and I would discuss this if she agrees I put in place my idea and then report back my findings. Some ideas work well but others need improing on. The teacher has so much experience she helps and advises me on the best methods of assessing the child or group, and listens to my feedback, she makes me feel like a valued member of staff, never criticises, she gives tips on how I can improve.

To assess a child or group of children and give feed back to the teacher it is important to have a good professional working relationship. To provide clear feedback confidently and in a professional manner. The teacher may decide that there is not enough information gathered, it is important to take this as a learning curve and re-do the assessment, knowing that more information is needed to ensure that the support we provide helps the child reach their full potential, rather than thinking that the work i did carrying out the assessment was not good enough, always thinking on the positive side.

Collectively the information gathered by both the teacher and the myself may need to be passed on to other staff or agencies, so the reports need to be accurate, concise, relevant and dated. b. Summarise the difference between formative and summative assessment Formative assessment. This is used as feedback to improve the process of learning. The child or young person gets feedback, usually during a learning process.

This can be done in the classroom by the teacher or the assistant, for example we would assess a group activity and intervene after discovering that some of the children are being left out, the end result would be that the group would be a better working team. A teacher would give comments on a piece of work after marking it giving the child suggestions on how to improve the work, they would then ask the child to re-do the work taking on the advice given and then marking the work again and giving them a grade.

The goal of formative assessment is to monitor children and young peoples learning, to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by teachers to improve their teaching, and by the children and young people to improve their own learning, as the feedback identifies the children and young peoples strengths and weaknesses and targets areas of work that may need improving, it also outlines and helps teachers and the teaching staff to recognise where their students are struggling and can then address any problems immediately. Summative assessment.

This is used to measure the learning that has taken place, this feed back is often given in the third party, such as the head of department or head teacher. This tends to be the final assessment after the learning process and then linked to rewards such as a pass or fail. In the class room children and young people write exams or complete tests at the end of the year to determine who will pass and who will fail. The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of a term or at other certain times and to compare it against some standards or bench mark.

Summative assessment is concerned with making evaluative judgements, using points and involves numbers. Formative assessment is as much part of learning as it is a part of assessment. The conversation and feedback between the teacher and the child or young person during various forms of formative assessment is a vital part of the learning process. “ In order for learners to gain insight into their learning and their understanding, frequent feedback is critical: Students need to monitor their learning and actively evaluate their strategies and their current levels of understanding”.

John D Bransford et. al. , ( How people learn) The difference between formative and summative assessment is that formative is an ongoing observation of children and young peoples development, where as summative is more a summary of information, e,g in education schools put together information about a child that they have observed or learnt throughout the year and then compiles a report, which is given to the parents so they can see how their child is developing.

In my setting we use a long observation, we then evaluate it following it by an individual learning plan. We also discuss with individual children during activities how they think they are doing, giving suggestions on how they can improve. c. Explain the characteristics of assessment for learning The key characteristics of assessments for learning are Learning goals and intentions

This is done by having a discussion with the children and young people before the activity, explaining what they have to do and what they will learn, telling them about the specific assessments criteria either verbally or in writing, after the assessment taking time with the children or young people, helping them to understand what they have done well and what areas they need to develop. When the children and young people see their class friends responses to the task, can help them understand how to use the assessment criteria to assess their own learning.

Clear success criteria Written or verbal. This can be seen in planning, or in the child or young persons book, copied or stuck in. In visual form on a teachers white board or maybe a discussion to the class, group or individual. Success criteria will link directly to the learning group or intention, this is separate from the lesson content or activity, this relates more to the skills, concepts, and knowledge of an activity. Feed back and marking. Children and young people benefit from opportunities for formal feedback through group and individual sessions.

Making time to talk to children and young people, teaching them to be reflective about their learning and their work and responses, asking the children to mark their own work will encourage them to see for themselves what they need to do to improve on and discuss it with the teacher. Feed back enables children and young people to understand their strengths and weaknesses demonstrated in their work. Marking and oral feedback explain what the next steps should be. Children and young people make achievements by building on previous performances.

When giving feedback to the children and young people we should do it in a positive way, confirming they are on the right track as this stimulates correction or improvement of a piece of work or achievement, any suggestions made should act as a help, to encourage them to think things through for themselves. Self assessment and evaluating. Opportunities for self assessments and evaluation should be used when and if appropriate, it could be used in lessons when relevant. Once children and young people understand how to assess their own knowledge and the gaps in it, they will have a better idea of how they can help themselves to progress.

Promoting confidence that every child can improve on identifying small steps to enable children and young people to see their progress, this will build their confidence and self esteem, encouraging them to explain their thinking and reasoning within a secure classroom ethos. Characteristics of assessments should be fair to each pupil, accurate, reliable based on a range of evidence, useful to the child or young persons future learning opportunities and continuous development. d. Explain the importance and benefits of assessment for learning.

The most important reason for carrying out observations and assessments is to ensure that the needs of individual children and young people are met. Assessments provide us with valuable information such as where the children and young people are in their development and learning, and the different areas of development, aspects of their health and well being, personality, temperaments, likes and dislikes, responses to different experiences and behaviour in a range of contexts such as different social and physical environments.

To enable us to plan activities and plan for future learning to help the children improve and progress to their full potential, we need to know all about the individual child or young person, we do this by assessments, we would get a full and accurate account and can work effectively to ensure the child and young person is supported. Teachers and assistants can implement teaching strategies which will be firmly based on the child or young person needs.

When assessments have been carried out, with the findings we can give the child appropriate instructions and their learning will accelerate. All children and young people learn and achieve differently, some children may need extra support while others need more challenging work to help them to progress. Not all children will benefit from one method of teaching.

If we treat all children and young people the same, some children will struggle and become uninterested and will not progress, they may lose confidence and lack self esteem, while the more able children and young people if their minds are not stretched they will also lose interest through boredom and not bother trying, therefore not reaching their full potential. The teachers expectations will become higher which will encourage children and young people to work harder with the correct support and encouragement.

Assessments give the teachers the information they need to share with other professionals and the child’s family, this will benefit the child, other professionals may intervene to help the child or young person with his or her needs, by discussing the assessment findings with the family will also encourage them to take an active role in the child or young persons learning, their reading or writing may need extra help so by explaining this to the parents they may be able to encourage, support and practice at home.

The parents may not be aware of their child struggling. Working closely with the children and the information provided from these assessments help the teachers and assistants find out how the children and young people learn best, what methods and strategies work for each individual, this will reduce the special education needs referrals, this is because we find out and work effectively to the learning of individuals.

The assessment findings will also be documented in the child or young persons files, so if needed to produce at inspections the child’s progress can be produced for accountability purposes. e. Explain how assessment for learning can contribute to planning for future learning carried out by: ? the teacher ?the learners ?the learning support practitioner Planning is essential, children need to know what they will be doing and what is expected of them.

There is a cycle that teachers, assistants and the children and young people constantly work through. Observe Plan Monitor Review Assess Teachers have a curriculum to follow they use the curriculum to plan what they will be doing. There are three types of planning Long term plans A long term plan is usually made for the term, or time you are offering a broad, rich, deep curriculum in every area of learning. Long term planning helps us to be organised in advance such as organizing and times of events and trips, each individual child an.

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