Yesterday I was asked to present alongside colleagues at a conference for 200 NQTs joining the profession. We reflected on a few simple tips for ensuring that our moral imperative to promote inclusivity is present in each lesson.
Getting the basics right:
- Take the time to get to know each student-
Sometimes when we receive profiles of need or similar, we build an impression of the child before we've even met them! Find our who they are, the likes and dislikes, and simply observe what works and what does not...
- Keep reflecting
It will take time to adapt to your respective classes. At the end of the lesson reflect on what your challenges are; but celebrate the successes! Keep researching and learning about them.
- Learn the triggers!
There will be situations and contexts which are not conducive to the learning environment for individuals. Watch our for these. Then you can preempt them in your planning, and ensure motivation for all.
The classroom environment:
Have a series of resources available at your disposal, so that you can respond exactly to what is needed at that given moment. In my room I have:
- Sand timers- These are great as a visual aid for students when completing tasks.
- Mini Whiteboards - an old classic, but great for modelling and remodelling ideas.
- Board pens and baby wipes- I circulate the room, writing key words on desks, or sentence stems for students as necessary. Incidentally- they love writing on them too! Great for reluctant writers!
- Help desks - I have a space set up with all the subject specific materials we may need - reading and writing skills cards, discussion frames, question frames, dictionaries, etc. When students need help, the first area they look is the help desk. Great for building independence.
- Timelines -
Giving students an idea of the process throughout the lesson and throughout the activity is really helpful, reducing anxiety.
- Checklists -
Similarly helpful for students in checking they have completed the process. Placing the expectations of what you expect to see in books can also reduce any nasty surprises when it comes to marking!
- Visuals aids
Obvious but so valuable! Creating a visual stimulus to aid comprehension and memory is really helpful. Especially graphic organisers of similar, as students grasp new content or concepts.
- Pre-teaching vocabulary
Ideally giving students an opportunity to meet new terms before the lesson is the ideal. Lots of ways of doing this, including visual word banks and 'walking the word' - see diagram below.
- Graduated questioning
Sounds obvious, but allows students do access material at their own starting points- and develops confidence.
I like to use these as a basis for discussion initially, before asking students to write them. The danger can be students rely upon these too heavily, so I like to use Didau's 'black out scaffolding' approach to build independence throughout the year.
Simple, but hopefully effective!