In a mixed group, I have always found it difficult to plan. Getting the session off to a good start is one of the challenges as I don’t like to keep people waiting, especially if they have complex needs such as attention difficulties and undiagnosed conditions as so many of my learners do. In situations such as this, a scheme of work can be challenging to write, and leaves me questioning how much of a productive use of my time it actually is. The thing is, who said a scheme of work all needs to be on one sheet of paper, complexly intertwined with other learner’s needs? I find it far more helpful to plan for the individual, then the group on the whole, giving me the opportunity to plan for group activities through a different pair of specs. I haven’t reinvented the wheel at all, just broke away from how I’d usually go about things. The ILP has changed slightly too. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m sure I’ll soon find out.
Taking inspiration from a spelling book I read, I made two sheets to help me plan. One is a termly action plan, including any skills/behaviours we are also working on, which may or may not relate to literacy. This can help me to plan RARPA if appropriate, and assess our work each week against a set of negotiated objectives.
The second is a Weekly Action Plan , serving a few purposes:
- Ensuring the learners know what they’re working towards, with the ability to tick off activities once they’ve done them.
- Encouraging learners to take ownership of their plan and encouraging the ethos that if any tasks aren’t done that day, we can carry them over to the following week, or discuss why something has changed.
- It gives me a chance to plan more thoroughly. Each week I look at the work they’ve done, and develop a new weekly plan for the following session. This helps me to pinpoint specific CPD I need to do, or tasks the learners need to do. I can also think about assessment of their work in a bit more of a controlled and systematic way.
- It gives the learners the opportunity to come in and start work. The ones that are more able to set themselves up, can, and it gives me time to set people up verbally.
So far, the learners seem to like it. In the past, I have spent a lot of time getting people on task quickly, and I have inadvertently missed some key stages such as checking they understand what they’re doing, why and instructions, as well as bit of information I will not get elsewhere.
I’ve also made a template for recording problems/errors, but I’ve not completed this yet. I find looking at a list of criteria painful and unhelpful. Again, taking inspiration from another template I’ve seen (I think it was produced by the college I went to, but I’m not 100% sure, sorry), it gives me chance to in-class and out-of-class categorise their errors for ‘whole specs’ approach and then ‘individual specs approach’.
Abel, S. (1994) Helping Adults to Spell. Basic Skills Agency