A bumpy ride to success – magic moment

Just found this post in draft form on my blogger app on my phone from last year….

We are really proud of the success we have in engaging, supporting and celebrating the progress of all our students, in particular those with special educational needs (SEN).

Since changing our ethos to a multi ability approach in PE, we have experienced many positive changes around the quality of teaching and learning and the amount of progress our students make. Not least is the impact it has had on the students with SEN.


We have also challenged the traditional ways of setting in PE (as explained in previous posts).  We recently reviewed the students in our PE groups. Four SEN students were amongst six who moved up to “top set”. The decision was based on rewarding progress, demonstration of a positive attitude and learning behaviors in lessons and not solely on physical ability. The message being sent out to the students is clear… those in the top set demonstrate positive learning behaviours, which is leading to making accelerated progress. We are helping students to understand that these qualities will help them to be successful in PE and sport and quashing the mindset that only naturally “gifted” students can be good at PE and sport.

Last year, I wrote a post called Dodge or bump, which talked about carefully planning to support (bumping) autistic students through certain situations, rather than dodging them all together. A concept I found out about from Matt Lloyd (Springfieldspe.Wordpress.com). This mindset ties in nicely with our over arching academy aim of preparing young people to thrive as adults in society. Dodging students from situations they will find challenging doesn’t always help to achieve this.
I have heard of some schools that still do not successfully engage all of their SEN children, instead choosing to dodge the situation by arranging alternative provision or at worst, offering no provision at all.

Recently, several practitioners from the south west of England, shadowed me for the day to discuss and challenge my approach to #realpe. In the afternoon, I had a Year 9 football lesson. I decided to give all the students an option to develop tactical awareness (using cognitive and social skills) through playing a match/tournament or to develop individual ball skills (social and personal skills).

Seven students chose ball skills, and played a game called “Donkey”. Their Learning intentions were:
Must – change a rule to make an activity more fun or challenging.
Should – take on different roles to support my group
Could – involve others and motivate those around you to perform better.

Whilst none of these actually refer directly to improving ball control, as we so often see in #realpe, by focusing on these skills, the group worked far better than they would have by just trying to focus on their physical skills. The game changed constantly, maintaining high levels of challenge and students remained more fully engaged due to the ownership they had of developing the game.

I floated between the two groups, fully confident that they would all be working well in front of the visitors. The proudest moment of the day happened when I went to review the progress of the donkey group. The group included an autistic student (recently moved to the “top set”) who took great delight in telling me about the new role he introduced to the group (must learning intention) and then proceeded to enforce that rule for the duration of the game about (should – taking on a role to support the group), in addition to taking it upon himself to be spokesperson for the group, telling me about everyone else’s rule changes. He then gave positive feedback to the other students who had also introduced new rules (could – motivating others) and suggested ideas for those that hadn’t.

When I explained to the visiting teachers about this particular students background and the progress he has made, they were astounded. This was matched by the pride I had for the student and the continued progress he is making.

What is also amazing, is how mixing students in this manner has not only supported the less physically able to work alongside the more physically able, but also how it has helped develop the traditional “top set” students’ ability to work with students with SEN.

A very special part of the job.

Advertisements

Dodge or Bump

Matt Lloyd is the Head of PE at Springfields Academy. He introduced me to the concept of ‘dodge or bump’ which he uses with his ASD pupils. This blog post explains the concept (which I have pasted into this post at the bottom).

Today, one of my pupils with aspergers didn’t want to work with another pupil with BESD (who tends to be confrontational when working in groups). I had a decision to make – dodge the situation by changing groups? Or carefully bump them into understanding how they may work through their problems.

I opted for the…

bump.

Five minutes later, the boy with aspergers was giving supportive feedback to help keep the BESD pupil to remain calm and even giving technical feedback to improve his performance. The BESD pupil struggles to listen to, accept and act on my feedback, but he responded brilliantly to his peer. This built the confidence of both pupils and they chose to stay working together for the rest of the lesson.

#magicmoment

2. Dodge or Bump?
The following morning Ronnie Heath spoke and challenged Ros’s viewpoint. The bump or dodge concept is very similar to Ros…. do we help our ASD pupils dodge situations or do we allow a safe and structured ‘bump’ to help their learning. But more profound was the quote…
“When you meet an Autistic person… you have met one autistic person”
Indeed we are all very different and we all see the world in very different ways just like all of our ASD pupils and one strategy my not work for all.
Personalising the learning is key for all of our young people and perhaps even more so for our complex learners but we must not see autism as an excuse and the reason to dodge but look for good quality teachers and teachingto gently bump them into understanding/accepting the world a little better.