The Inclusive College

It was a pleasure to give the keynote on The Inclusive Classroom at Cardiff and Vale College this week. The day was organised by  James Donaldson, Head of additional learning needs and wellbeing for the college. 
After a phone call, we discussed what I should include in my talk and I thought about it in this way:

  • the new reforms Wales will be implementing following on from England – learn from England’s mistakes! But take from if that the teacher/lecturer is responsible for all students in their classroom. Also that TAs and support workers are there to move learning on for the students not do the work for them or worry about task completion. 
  • the four broad areas of ALN:
  1. Communication and Interaction 
  2. Cognition and Learning
  3. Social Emotional Mental Health 
  4. Sensory and Physical Needs 
  • The Graduated Approach (where I showed Nasen’s diagram) which is a simple and effective way to reflect on the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ cycle for teachers. 
  • Strategies and tips which lecturers could put into their classroom tomorrow. These included:
  1. Thinking time for processing speed
  2. Less is more for those who need more time 
  3. Task boards and lists for students who struggle with sequencing 
  4. Chunking for memory 
  5. Multi-sensory for improving learning capacity and retention of information 
  6. Reducing carrier language to concentrate on subject specific for those who struggle with communication 

The message from me is that simple adjustments in the classroom will help many learners and damage none.

  • Behaviour and wellbeing where I chose to discuss levels of resilience and exploring the seemingly 0-60 way some students appear to erupt. But, as happened to me over the holidays, does an apparent over reaction show that a student is actually at 40 rather than 0?  They might not realise it and you certainly don’t know what they have experienced over the holidays. Some understanding that behaviour may be linked to what they have experienced outside of college and in the holidays may be useful to help understand the causes of  certain behaviours. 

To be resilient is to thrive not just survive. 
Thank you Cardiff and Vale College. 

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