1) The five broad social and emotional aspects of learning are:
* Self awareness
A pupil’s ability to look at themselves and their actions and analysis the impact both directly and indirectly (towards others) is paramount to their future development. A mature, well rounded child will have the skills to constantly adapt to ever changing situations and environments.
* Managing feelings
Children need to understand that their actions and emotions will have a reaction – ‘Speak to people how you would like to be spoken ‘and ‘Treat people how you would like to be treated yourself’. Being able to control their feelings and emotions is not as easy as it sounds, especially in the young. Children do not often recognise or understand their feelings so are then unable to stop the behaviour in time and reassess what they are doing. Pupils should take care not to let personal feelings or frustrations project onto any others. If a difficult situation arises then the following points may help the pupil cope and give them time to reflect:- 1. Giving children some dignity and time to calm down from an emotional situation – 2. Recognising ‘trigger points’ and implementing strategies, will assist in future development. 3. Continual reassurance and positive feedback.
Finding what motivates a pupil is the key to their learning and subsequently their future as an Adult. When a child is motivated they will be more receptive to ideas, be more engaged throughout the lesson. Their motivation and enthusiasm is often ‘infectious’ and will in turn help others. Teaching the pupil how to set personal goals and finding ways to achieve these goals is a ‘life skill’ which will follow them throughout life. Learning how to overcome distractions, disappointment and set-backs, effectively and constructively, will make them stronger emotionally and help avoid anxiety induced stress, depression or in extreme cases self-harm or ultimately suicide.
Being aware of Peoples differences and likenesses and embracing their Religious and personal needs, with understanding and empathy will help a child to adapt to different environments with an open minded attitude. Learning about others and their situations and not judging but looking at each event or occurrence as a unique incident. Pupils respond well when they are asked how their day is or has anything different happened over the weekend. Open ended questions leave space for someone who may need to talk but did not know how to approach the subject.
* Social skills
Socialising is something that a pupil should be encouraged to do as often as possible both in school and outside. This develops the child’s unique identity and will teach them invaluable skills and strategies which they will take forward with them. Some of these skills are:-
* Listening – listen to others opinions
* Speaking – talking to different audiences (peers and adults) * Working with different groups – not always with friends or similarly minded people * Helping support the learning of others – or as the children may say ‘sharing is caring’ * Dealing with difficult or delicate situations – learn what helps and what hinders you * Negotiating or compromising to reach an acceptable goal – both as an individual or when working as a team. 2) 5 appropriate methods that may help pupils recognise and express emotions are: Be a good Role Model – show that you can control your own emotions and actions at all times. Be consistent.
Don’t have double standards – tell the children how they should behave and then not follow the same guidelines yourself. This creates unnecessary confusion in already confused minds. Remaining ‘in control’ of your emotions requires skills and strategies, which should be taught and practised as often as possible. Children need this input (or personal development) on a weekly basis or as and when a relevant situation occurs. Some, well proven methods are:-
* Class discussions – this can give children a chance to listen and talk about personal issues or experiences within a comfortable environment. Often through this outlet they will find their problems are not unique and they find common ground with others. * Role play – because they are ‘playing at part’ they can distance themselves from the personal side of the problem, therefore become more animated and be able to vent or understand how to deal with a problem. * Worry box – this is a way to maintain anonymity but create a discussion and hopefully find a solution. * Circle time – often lead by the teacher, incorporating situations or incidents which have previously occurred (within the class or playground). This is well structured and allows opinions and thoughts to be aired. * Situational expression – often directly as a result of an incident – ‘okay this has just happen and boy A responded like this – how do we all think this could have been handled’ This allows reflection and thought and hopefully a better solution is found.
3) I would encourage co-operation when working within a group of pupils by following the after-mentioned points: A Teaching Assistants role is to show support, encouragement and direction when required. Each child should be allowed to express their opinion and questions, in a comfortable environment but under guidelines. The guidelines will be set at the beginning of the session so that the lesson remains structured and on task. Any possible issues that are likely to affect the groups learning should be addressed prior to or during the session:- * Location of lesson – noise levels, seating, distractions
* Educational/emotional levels – are all the child of similar levels or do some require modifications – behavioural issues, easily distracted, lacking confidence. * Group structure – do they generally work well together, what are the dynamics like? Quieter children should be allowed encouraged to become involved and care should be taken to not focus your attention on one child but on the group as a whole. 4) The teaching assistant may help meet the requirements of the school health, hygiene and medical policies and procedures by: The schools Policies should be displayed in open areas so that all parents, staff and children can read them at their leisure or consult them if they have any queries. * School Health Policies
The Teaching assistant should ensure that all pupils are aware of the necessity for personal cleanliness, when this should happen, what resources are available or who to ask for advice. The following points are guidelines:-
1. Encourage students the good practise and routine of when to wash their hands – after using the toilet, before touching or eating food, after any activity which required using their hands. 2. First aid box should contain dressings and lotions for dealing with open wounds or bleeding (i.e. nose bleeds) 3. Toilet inspections should be carried out as often as possible and a form placed within the toilets to monitor timings and person responsible 4. Bodily fluids and their dangers should be discussed openly and each child be made aware of the appropriate methods of dealing with both themselves and others 5. Keep soap or sanitisers, readily available to the children in class 6. Classroom cleanliness is not just for the cleaners, the children should be taught ‘house-keeping’ skills early on 7. School nurse – as the children mature – should be giving them personal hygiene talks to explain what changes will start occurring in their bodies.
* Medical Policies
First and foremost the Teaching Assistant should make themselves aware of any medical issues relating to any child they are directly in contact with. They must be aware of the illness, allergy or situation and its level of severity. They must be aware of the procedure in the event of an incident: – * what do immediately,
* who to contact (school nurse first point of contact) * Which method (mobile, land line or loudspeaker system (if available). They should also be aware of any other lists of children with special conditions, as they might be the staff member on duty during break, when one of these children has an episode or become unwell. Most schools post both photographs and the specific conditions – outside or inside each class – but these are also available on the School public drive. 5) The following are signs of neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse and as a teaching assistant I would deal with my suspicions or any disclosures of abuse by: ‘* Neglect –
Every child requires the basic essential to thrive and develop into a healthy adult. A neglected child will often not receive these basic necessities food or clothing. They will appear unkempt, under nourished and as result quite withdrawn. They may not be receiving the same parental care or love (in this country Dubai, often the Maid replaces the parents as the main adult figure in their lives). * Physical – physical effect on a person whether directly by themselves or refusing to use preventative measures to stop someone else. Children who are being physically abused will often present themselves as quiet, submissive and often do not want to participate in activities that require showing their body. As a Teaching Assistant you should be aware if a child is constantly suffering from cuts, bruising or other visible injuries. Ask the child what happened and gauge their response and demeanour. Any suspicious should immediately be brought to the attention of the teacher and logged in the correct way. ‘
* Emotional – shouting, not speaking, insulting, humiliating in front of others, overly protective or allowing no rules Emotional abuse will have quite contrasting indications. The child maybe timid, quiet and have poor self-esteem. Or they can be overly aggressive verbally or physically towards their peers. These changes in behaviour maybe quite gradual but any behavioural changes, however small, should be highlighted to the Teacher so that they are being monitored. * Sexual abuse – touching, kissing, fondling, sexual intercourse, allowing to watch inappropriate adult movies As with all the above forms of abuse the Teaching Assistant should be vigilant to all signs. Is the child showing signs of anxiety or injury or discomfort when sitting for extended periods? Pained expressions when walking or sitting.
Exhibiting inappropriate behaviour towards their peers or adults. Using sexual language or knowledge out with their age group. Conclusion – if any ‘disclosures’ are made with regards to any the above forms of abuse, the Teaching Assistant must listen without showing any judgements or emotion. You may be the first person the child has disclosed to, so it is imperative that you allow them to speak freely and openly. A statement maybe required so listen well and gently encourage them to continue if they wish. DO NOT promise to keep it a secret.
Courtney from Study Moose
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