Supporting Learning Activities and Assessment for Learning Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 2 January 2017

Supporting Learning Activities and Assessment for Learning

Introduction

Helping in activities would be delivery, if you pass on ideas, observations or suggestions that would be contributing to planning. Do you give feedback to your teacher about how the sessions went? The teacher use s that information to inform their planning, so you contribute that way. Whenever you talk to your teacher about what went well or what aspects of the children struggled with you, you are making a contribution because it helps the teacher plan the next step, so without realising it you are contributing to planning.

Planning A learning support practitioner or teaching assistant could contribute to planning of an activity simply by an informal discussion with the teacher about what weekly and daily activities will be taking place. This form of planning is known as short term and would be the most likely that a teaching assistant would be involved in. The teacher may put some time aside to discuss each week’s activities with the teaching assistant, this would normally allow for any suggestions to be made on how to improve or change things, teaching assistants should have a clear understanding of the learning objective for each activity and know what they should be doing to help the children to achieve this.

Delivering

Teaching assistant should be a lot more actively involved in delivering the learning activities. This may be by setting up the room with the correct resources before the lesson takes place and laying out the tables and chairs etc., One to one support may be needed for some pupils, this should have been discussed before the lesson.it may be that the T A is put to work with one specific table/group of children or just float around the classroom and be available if any of the children ask for help.it would be most likely that after the activity the T A would pack resources and work away, while the teacher reflects with the class.

Review

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, and this is done by having a discussion with the class teacher and also with the class teacher and also with the other teachers and teaching assistants that are doing the same topics with the same aged children. By doing this we can share ideas and suggestions, during the 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 informed discussion between me 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.

1b) Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to supporting learning activities and how these may impact on the support that can provided

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 discussions 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 style 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 ensuing 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 classroom it is then my responsibility to prepare the classroom ready for the lesson, this would be done either before the children arrive or when the class teacher gathers the children on to the carpet area where she will discuss the activity with them, what it involves and what is expected of them.

1c) Explain how social organisation and relationships may affect the learning process

Introduction

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 or with adult attention to keep them on task and encouragement to keep them focused. Groups with children of varying ability in some 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 whole class support must make sure all interactions with children give encouragement and praise, giving help when needed but not doing the work for the child.

Grouping strategy

Within schools the children are grouped in several ways e.g. In ability groups, in nurture groups, S e n groups and in EAL groups. The children are also encouraged to join after school clubs, e.g computer club, which helps them to form relationships across the year groups.

In my role as a teaching assistant I would work to support children either in small groups or on an individual basis. This could be inside the classroom or outside the classroom. I ensure that I will 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 and always motivated to listen and learn. I would try to get to know each child within the groups as quickly as possible so I can support them to the best of my ability and treat every child as an individual.

1d) Explain the sorts of problems that might occur when supporting learning activities and how to deal with these

Introduction

The sorts of problems that might occur when supporting a learning activity is the pupil may not be motivated or can’t be bothered to do the work that is set out for them to do or it may be that they have a low attention span and may find it hard concentrating on one certain thing at a time etc. Here are some of the problems that you may find happen in an every day school setting and how to help resolve them: -Lack of student motivation and interest- make the lesson interesting and relevant to increase pupil involvement and interaction -Death of teaching – learning aids, prior preparation in making simple, easy inexpensive teaching aids, maybe with some help from pupils themselves -An inclusive class with a wider spectrum of abilities- each one (pupil) teach one, let the ‘smarter’ ones take some responsibility for those who cannot keep pace.

This takes care of 2 things simultaneously-teaching helps to understand and consolidate one’s learning concepts and it helps the teacher to keep the entire class at a similar level -Low level of attention or short attention span- include multiple sources of learning, multi sensory, practical’s, field trips, hands on, project work, activities……. -One or more highly disruptive students- find out the real reason for such indiscipline and disruption and try to sort it out e.g. if the child is a ‘genius’ way ahead of the class them provide him/her with work or activities on the side , suited to his/her level -Fumbling with the basic/fundamentals nor not up to the optimal previous knowledge level- this needs to be corrected immediately, hence spend time to teach them the basics. Also frequent spot tests, etc, help in identifying whether new concepts have been learnt and talking prompt corrective/remedial measure -When a teacher/teaching assistant is supporting learning activities, there are a number of potential problems including:

Insufficient resources

A learning task usually requires resources e.g pencils, paper, worksheets, maths apparatus, paint pots, paint brushes etc… If there are not enough resources for each child, the learning activity would be disrupted, as someone would have to leave the room to collect more resources, which wastes valuable learning time. A way of preventing this form occurring is by collecting enough resources to go around before the lesson actually starts. It is important also to check that equipment is safe and working and is 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 e.g. 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 they ensure there is enough room for the equipment. One way of dealing with such problems is to have a special painting table for a group of children to use, whilst the other children are doing a different task/ activity and wait their turn with the paints. A lot of noise will be a distraction whether it is from other children in the room or from a different area of the school e.g. the corridor or small hall. Teachers/teaching assistants deal with these situations by reminding the children to work as quietly as possible and by shutting windows and doors to minimise the disruption.

Pupils ability to learn

If any children are not focused on the task due to poor behaviour, teachers/teaching assistants intervene straight away and they always praise good behaviour using team points, stickers, telling the class teacher how well they have done, in accordance with the school behaviour policy. Teaching assistants deal with situations like this by encouraging the children to amend their behaviour, but if they do not they will inform the class teacher of the situation as soon as possible.

Sometimes children with low self esteem may think that they are unable to complete the task and give up trying to do so. Teaching assistant’s deal with this by giving them lots of encouragement and praise for trying, they would also adapt the explanation so they understand. As a teaching assistant I would always encourage children to do their best in everything they do I am aware of how long children can concentrate for as I helped out in my little boys school for two years(reception class and year1) and I found that if the task was not hands on or something they wanted to do then they would loss interest rather quickly so I found that by changing the way they learnt then they would not loss interest and they would have more fun.

1e) Explain the importance of evaluating learning activities
Introduction

You set up an activity for a child, an obstacle course running around the play ground/field, jumping, hopping, leaping and climbing…. The child enthusiastically accesses the activity. You set up another activity for the child counting leaves, you have collected from the field/play ground…… the child chooses not to access the activity and goes for a run around the field /playground instead, kicking leaves around and practising jumping on the hopscotch. How do you know the child was interested in the activity you set up? What do you know about the child that tells you their likes ,dislikes, interests, learning styles, things they do at home etc.

Evaluation is important as it helps out when planning and helps you to think about the learning that has taken place. Spending time going through the learning activities and seeing how students have responded to a certain task or question, can really help re-shape it for the future classes. It is important to look back at the learning objects so you can measure what the children have learned. If you do think carefully about learning objectives at the planning stage, it will not always be possible to evaluate whether pupils have achieved them.

Evaluating learning activities

Mann (1996:14) states” with the huge investment in developing training strategies, the question is no longer ‘should we train’ but rather is the training worthwhile and effective?” This is consistent with a wide range of literature which accepts that training is important and recognises that evaluation of it to be the key issues so that it’s ‘worth’ can be proven. Lewis and Thornhill (1994:25) state “there seems to be widespread agreement with the proposition that evaluation is the least well conducted aspect of all training activities” which suggests that there is a need for organisations to focus on this area of learning and development process in order for evaluation to reach it’s potential.

This attitude was confirmed in the CIPD (2008) learning and development survey whereby only one in five (21%) of respondents said ‘that they spend most of their time monitoring and evaluating training at the moment. There is also evidence that this problem is not limited to UK organisations. Athanasius (1998) indicates similar results when research was undertaken in Australia. The importance of the process can be viewed from the perspectives of different stakeholders:

Insufficient resources

A learning task usually requires resources e.g. pencils, paper, worksheets, maths apparatus, paint pots, paint brushes etc., if there is not enough resources for each child the learning activity would be disrupted, as someone would have to leave the room and collect more resources, which wastes valuable learning time. A way of preventing this from occurring is by collecting enough resources to go around. It is important also to check that equipment is safe and working properly and is not broken in any way and to make sure that I am aware of how to use the equipment safely.

The learning environment

If children are working on an activity that requires a lot of space, e.g. 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 they ensure that there is enough room for them and the equipment. One way of dealing with such problems is to have a special painting table for a group of children to use whilst the other children are doing a different activity and await there turn with the paints. A lot of noise will be a distraction whether it is from other children in the classroom or from some outside disturbance such as grass cutting or from a different area of the school, e.g. the corridor or school hall. Teachers/teaching assistants deal with these situations by reminding the children to work as quietly as possible and by shutting windows and doors to minimise the disruption.

Pupil’s ability to learn

If any children are not focused on the task due to poor behaviour, teachers/teaching assistants intervene straight away, and they always praise good behaviour by giving team points, stickers, telling the class teacher how well they have done, in accordance with the school behaviour policy. Teaching assistants deal with situations like this by encouraging the children to amend their behaviour, but if they do not they will inform the class teacher who will take the matter further?

Sometimes children with low self esteem may think that they are unable to comply with the task and give up all together. Teaching assistants deal with this by giving them lots of encouragement and praise for trying, they would also adapt the explanation so the children understand the task better. As a teaching assistant I would always encourage children to do their best, I am aware of how long children can concentrate for on one task, which is the reason why staff within schools adapt their planning to incorporate the different learning styles of children to keep their attention on the task.

1f) Evaluate how own knowledge, understanding and skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT impact on practice

Introduction

Information communication technology (ICT) can potentially be one of the most difficult subjects to teach. In wheeler’s (2005) view, this is due to the “continuously changing industry where technologies are superseded or replaced so rapidly, it is difficult for the manufactures to keep pace”.

Own knowledge

I believe I know how to find any information from book and I know how to use the internet as I use it every day for research for my course and also I can find information from magazines and I occasionally take notes which I made some when I was helping out in my little boys school (yr. R and yr. 1). I believe that I am capable and confident in feeding back information to the class teacher that I would be working with. I am happy to write information for others although could give more detail in what I write.

I have in the past kept a workplace diary although I was only a parent helper I found that this helped as I could go over certain thing with the teacher at the end of the school day, I was thinking of doing this again when I am at my work placement as I think it may help me understand what each child likes to do and how they get on with day to day life at school. I believe I can read with expression and at the end of last year I was reading to groups of children after playtime. I always listen to others but I sometimes struggle with tasks with more then 1 aspect to them, depending on what the task. I need to practice on my spelling of more difficult words so I can help0 the children if they ever need it, I am normally confident in my writing but I have doubts when other people read over my work.

1g) Develop a plan for improving own knowledge, understanding and skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT

Introduction

While standards are high in may schools here, there are still far too many children who struggle with reading, writing and using mathematics and too many young people who leave school still lacking in skills and confidence in these areas. Too often, these are young people who are already contending with other barriers to educational needs or those whose first language is not English. We know that, as a general rule, such pupils do less well than their peers and we are determined to take action to make sure that they and indeed all pupils have the chance to succeed and to reach their full potential.

Plan for improving own knowledge, understanding and skills

I would contribute to planning by giving verbal and written feedback as well as going through children’s books to see how well the children have done on an activity. All the information that is feedback helps the teacher plan things for the next lesson helping them to get the correct pitch. I would contribute to delivering that lesson by making sure that I have read and understood the lesson plans, whilst having all the equipment available beforehand. Through close working relationships we will have developed a verbal and non verbal communication skills that enables us to work together to deliver a lesson. I also would deliver support to the whole class with the activities, small groups and individuals on a 1:1 basis, I would contribute to the review of learning activities by being hands on and suggesting and putting forward my own ideas.

Teachers of other area of specialism are not expected to be specialist teachers in literacy, numeracy, language or ICT. However, there will be many naturally occurring activities for language, numbers and ICT skills development within other leaning. It is always useful to have some basic strategies for supporting learners, which include:

Reading

-Using readable, accessible texts
-Encouraging learners to develop reading strategies such as skimming, scanning, detailed reading and critical re4ading
-Including explicit instructions on how to use reference material, libraries etc.

Writing

-Explicitly teaching the conventions of text types required in assignments, for example; note taking, report writing, essays, through meaningful context rather than through decontextualized activities -Offering models and if necessary writing frames for learners, for example; notes, assignments, reports -Being aware of and explicitly teaching if necessary the drafting process planning, drafting, editing and proof- reading, through a flexible responsive approach to learners needs -being able to offer some basic strategies for developing accuracy for example, look, say, cover, check (spellings) spell check, use of dictionaries -allowing learners with difficulties with note-taking, for example, dyslexic learners, copies of course notes or the use of a tape recorder

In 1998, the then strategy for the promotion of literacy and numeracy in schools here identified clearly and appropriately the need in every school for well-defined literacy and numeracy policies and highlighted in the importance of early intervention and classroom practice that addressed “directly the quality of teachers”, interactions with pupils. The 2006 programme for international student achievement revealed that: -having previously performed significantly above the average in both reading and mathematical literacy, we are now at the O E C D average -only 7 countries had a wider distribution of reading ability Key stage 2 pupils

At key stage 2 the percentage of pupils not at the expected level in English has reduced from 27.2% in 2011 to 22% in 2006. While the improvement is noteworthy it still means that some 5000 pupils are entering post-primary education with literacy skills below the level expected. In mathematics the percentage of pupils not at the expected level reduced from 26.1% to 20.5% in 2006 but here again some 4700 pupils are entering post-primary education with mathematical skills below the level; expected.

2a) Compare and contrast the roles of the teachers and learning support practitioners in assessment of learner’s achievements

Introduction

Effective assessment plays a vital role in demonstrating how a teacher teaches and how pupil’s learn; it allows a teacher to reflect on the quality of their own schooling as well as meeting with other teachers to share examples of pupils achievement in order to observe how all children in the class are progressing, assessing a pupil will also enable a child to recognise their own achievements in order to make progress in their own learning and allow teachers to shape and adapt their teaching to a child’s individual needs.

Teacher’s role

The teachers responsibility is to follow the curriculum, planning lessons and providing the necessary resources for the children, she/he will develop and adapt learning activities to suit the requirements of individual groups of children who will need them that sets out a clear learning objective so that learner progress can be measured and to make the children aware of their learning intentions, this will decide whether that particular child requires more or less responsibilities in their learning and targets will then be set for the child, if pupils have not made any advancement towards their learning objective, either the learning objective needs to be modified or adapted or the teaching tactics improved. A teachers responsibilities towards the children in their care also involve: -Deliver an ongoing record of each child’s progress in class. -Inform children about their individual performances and achievements. -Update parents to identify their child’s strengths and area’s for development. -Identify individual educational needs of all the children in their class.

Teaching assistant’s role

A teaching assistant’s role can also play a vital part when it comes to assessing a child’s progress in class, not only do we supervise children in outside areas and support children in groups but also involved in assessing a child’s literacy and numeracy performance as well as other subjects in the school curriculum. Ta’s provide help and support to both teachers and pupils, as well as supporting children within the class room in a variety of different areas within subjects, on entering a class that morning teachers should discuss with the ta about what daily activities will be taking place that day in order for the ta not only to prepare and organise resources but also to have a clear understanding of the learning objective for each activity and to know what they should be doing in order to help the child achieve this.

2b) Summarise the difference between formative and summative assessment

Introduction

As a student, I often wondered why we have to take quizzes and tests as we go along in the discussion of our lessons. At the end of the unit, we also have the more comprehensive and harder examinations that we need to study well. These are actually tools that teachers use, so that they can evaluate the degree of understanding and progress a student has made in class. These will allow her to know if the students have benefited from her method or not. Formative and summative assessment will allow her to determine whether her methods are effective in conveying the knowledge that she wants to impact to the students.

Formative assessment

Formative assessment is a teaching tool used on a daily basis to determine how much students have learned and how much they still need to learn. This can be determined through assignments, homework, quizzes and class discussions. They are given more frequently but carry lesser grading weight, because they are only used to determine which areas in the teacher’s instructions are not understood by the students and how much a teacher still have to teach them. Formative assessments allow teachers to know the effectiveness of learning tools and help them change their methods and find which ones are more effective in helping students understand what is being discussed in class.

Summative assessment

Summative assessment is a teaching tool that evaluates students basing on their performance and is the basis of determining the progress made by the students for the unit that has been discussed and for the school year as a whole. Summative assessment is used to evaluate whether the students are ready to take state wide testes and to provide information on the progress made by public schools, administrators and public or local agencies in relation to policies in education. Summative assessments are conducted formally and can be in the form of quizzes, essays, tests or projects. They are given at the end of a unit to determine how much the student has learned about the whole lesson and if they have met academic standards. They can also help the teacher to find better teaching methods to use, if the summative assessment results are not satisfactory.

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