Visualising Intervention – Educational Transition

Using A Temporal View of Transition To Support Educational Transition

Note: this article is based on working practice during 2005, 2011

Part of the Visualising Education Blog Series

Transition, whether it is from infant school to primary school, from primary school to high school, from high school to college or the workplace or from college to university, is fundamentally the same. That is, helping students to move from one establishment to another.

The transition framework which was developed to manage transition into and out of the school is displayed below in figure 1.  This framework is based on the work carried out with students who were being transferred between schools due to significant issues which were typically labelled as ‘behavioural.’

Simple Transition Framework 2005 A Practical Guide To Inclusion-.png
Figure 1) Simple Transition Framework 2005 – A Practical Guide To Inclusion

The key to transition is to recognise that transition can be viewed in a temporal fashion, which is highlighted in figure 1 with the labelled ‘zones of commitment.’ Secondly, it was identified that the transition success can be assessed at different stages across the transition period.  Using this transition framework it is possible to identify strategies and additional support to increase the transition success of the student.

The assessment theme (figure 1) suggests areas which need to be explored during the assessment process.  The most important factors, where the students perception of the staff and other students approachability and accessibility lead to feeling connected and valued (this is referred to as belonging in current research round transition).  Other issues related to the remaining themes could be addressed once the student establishes a sense of belonging.

Using The Zones of Commitment

1) Pre-arrival:

  • Visit current school introduce yourself promoting approachable and accessible
    • Wear something novel I use funky ties as a talking point
    • Provide students with a contact point to request further information (assurance)
      • email, webpages and forms, text message, social networking
    • Send out literature (newsletter, flyer etc…) which makes the new school welcoming and friendly
      • Include frequency asked questions
      • Incorporate digital media about transition into the school website and reference to it
    • Provide action lists
      • Before your first day you need to have … (provide a tick list)
      • Suggest shops and websites which will support the students and parents in preparing
      • On your first day (what to expect and what happens)
      • Named person (teacher name, photograph, a little friendly introduction)
    • Produce videos
      • Use videos of other students (year seven) explaining what school life is like
      • Use videos to explain rules and expectation of the school
      • Use videos to show off school clubs and events
    • Knowledge and Skills
      • Provide exemplar work
      • Suggest what work new students can be doing before they arrive (preparing)
      • Direct them to relevant websites and downloads

2) Induction

  • Welcome and Introduce
    • Too much information overwhelms people – Keep It Short and Simple (KISS)
    • Provide opportunities which allow the students to form friendships (student centred activities)
    • Get involved, making yourself approachable
  • Check everything!
    • Use the same check list which you previously shared to produce a sense of success
    • Check personal data
    • Collect forms and other paperwork
    • Give out a trolley load of papers and books!
  • Explore the school
    • Identify key locations which the student can use (toilets, student support, main reception)
    • Explain the room numbering etc… (challenge students by asking which rooms\ floors different subjects are on or which direction they are from your current location)
    • Help to the students to visualised the shape of the school (my old school looked like a fork)
    • Talk about rules and expectations as you move around the buildings and open spaces
    • Students services (what they provide and how they help students) make a point of introducing the student to all members of the student service team

3) Initial Transition

  • Named person
    • Provide a person which the student can talk to and ask questions
    • Return forms or ask for additional paperwork
    • Keep a track on commitment (attendance) and engagement (learning)
  • Join clubs & represent the school
    • Promotes school identity (belongingness)
    • Clubs are great at helping students find people with similar interests
    • Become house representatives
    • Participate on student bodies within the school
    • Contribute to newsletters

4) Problem Solving

  • Long term transition – bumps along the way (signposting)
    • Support student by recognising that they may be upset or have a problem
    • Encourage student to seek advice from the name person or support worker (student service)
    • Check if student has accessed advice, if not encourage to do so

This blog is based on extracts from this book: A Practical Guide To Inclusion: A Manual For Implementation and Delivery

The Deployment Of Teaching Assistants Within The Classroom, A Teachers Perception

For all stakeholders the deployment of the teaching assistant within the classroom is critical but even more so to the success of the teacher’s performance management in relation to the the ‘lesson observation’ against the Ofsted performance grade as outlined in the Ofsted: School Inspection Handbook (2013).

Quality of teaching grade descriptor – good

Teachers and other adults create a positive climate for learning in their lessons and pupils are interested and engaged.

Quality of teaching grade descriptor – outstanding

Teachers and other adults authoritatively impart knowledge to ensure students are engaged in learning, and generate high levels of commitment to learning across the school.

Statistically speaking a teacher is 80% likely to have a teaching assistant within the classroom during an Ofsted lesson observation (ATL survey of teaching assistants (2013)).  This means that it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that the teaching assistants are using their knowledge and skills to creating, developing and maintain a positive learning climate where pupils are engaged within the learn experience.

The knowledge and skills which the teaching assistant brings to the classroom was highlighted by teachers as a major concern (Neill (2002)) arguing that the teaching assistant lack of subject specific knowledge creates more issues than they solve.  I would argue that it is not the responsibility of the class teacher to train the teaching assistant within the subject rather it is the school’s responsibility to ensure that the teaching assistant has these skills, knowledge and drive for the subject.

Bourke (2009) suggested that training should reflect a collaborative process which focuses on “reflection on learning” and “sharing meanings and understandings about effective support of all students.”  However, it is assumed that the teaching assistant has the subject specific knowledge and that the teaching assistant is given time to participate within shared planning.

Interestingly, Farrell et al. (2010)) found that the deployment of teaching assistants needs to be carried out with specific focus to the individual learning needs of each student rather than a small group of children scattered across the classroom.  This suggests that the deployment of the teaching assistant should be focused on sitting with an individual student or a small group sitting together within the classroom.  Where the teaching assistant would be responsible for the creation and maintenance a positive learning climate where the student is engaged and interested.  However, if the teacher assistant does not give the students time to work independently during the lesson then the student will become reliant on this support creating a situation of learned helplessness.

To support this Blatchford et al. (2011) concluded that teaching assistants need to undertake training which focuses on the pedagogical skills as these are the critical skills which teachers rely on when deploying the teaching assistant within the classroom.  The teachers assistant application of their pedagogical knowledge and skills are vital in establishing the engaging and interesting learning experience which teachers are required to deliver to achieve a ‘good’ during an Ofsted lesson observation.

Therefore, the deployment of the teaching assistant within the classroom is influenced by the subject specific knowledge and (pedagogical) skills which the teaching assistant brings.  Once in the classroom the teaching assistant needs to be placed in a location where they can target intervention without moving around the classroom whilst offering an opportunities to foster independent learning skills within the students. In doing so, allowing the teaching assistant to apply their pedagogical knowledge and skills to maintaining an engaging and interesting learning experience.