How to support SEN children with Language development.


It’s tough out there for teachers right now. Politics aside, classroom planning, work marking and managing a class full of young students is hard work! We know that as a teacher, you want to support all the children in your class, especially SEN children (special educational needs).

Even seasoned teachers may feel unsure about the best approaches to helping SEN students, particularly in communication. Some SEN children often need extra help when it comes to their talking. Perhaps they are a delayed speaker or maybe they have some form of speech/language disorder. We have collected a few helpful hints for teachers that you can start putting into practice to help all SEN children.

Give them time to respond

Allowing a child time to respond to a question is key to encourage their talking. As adults, we feel uncomfortable with long silences, however in this case, you are letting the child know they have time to think of their answer. Don’t bombard with lots of questions at once and really be patient.

This method also translates well into a classroom setting. Give the class a warning that you are going to ask a question, so they have time to think about it. This might be a minute or two, depending on your class’ ability. It’s good practice to then ask the question again using a child’s name. For example: “James, what do you think the answer is?”. Leave a pause after the child’s name so they have a moment to formulate their answer.

Create a system for asking for help

Often children in the classroom are nervous about asking for help, especially if they find it difficult to verbalise what they want to say. A great tip that can work for the whole class is a red or green card system. If a child is happy with the task that has been set to them they can have a green card facing upward on their desk.

If the child doesn’t understand or is unsure on how to ask for help, they can show their red card. This is really helpful for children who are particularly shy about putting their hand up in front of the whole class.

Break down tasks into bite-sized chunks

Sometimes it will help a child to break down a classroom activity into smaller tasks. Perhaps asking them to solve the first part of a problem of a larger task. This mean that they are able to understand the activity better. It will also give them more opportunity to converse with you as a teacher.

Those are our top three tips to help you every day in the classroom! Start putting them into practice and let us know how you find them. We would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have any other tips for other new teachers? Comment below or share them on our Facebook page to help others!

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