11 June 2015
Using AT resources to help meet Performance Related Pay criteria
This week, we speak to Beverley, one of our Texthelp trainers. She’s been out and about training lots of Teachers around the UK and has picked some some useful hints and tips along the way.
Here she talks to us about how teachers can use Assistive Technology (AT) resources to help them meet the criteria related to performance related pay.
“Performance related pay is one of the main areas of concern for lots of the teachers I’ve been meeting. Working to specific objectives is causing lots of stress for already very busy teachers. While I’ve been training them on using Read&Write in the classroom, I’ve picked up some useful hints and tips on how they can use AT to help meet their objectives and create an inclusive classroom.
“As part of performance related pay criteria, you’re frequently being asked to prove the progression of your pupils. An easy way to do this is to keep an Error Log of spelling mistakes in the pupils’ work; with this log you can then provide evidence of how a child is making progress with their spelling over time, as well as naturally improving their overall literacy. There’s lots of supported writing environments that will do this for you.
“Teachers are also being asked on a more regular basis to show differentiation and inclusive teaching in their classrooms. While nearly all of you do this naturally there’s a couple of simple ways to include all of the class regardless of skill level or ability. By simply providing alternative reading tools like a text-to-speech tool or converting text to audio files will include those who struggle with their own reading. Using imagery to support new vocabulary will also help your students who struggle with visual processing or perhaps don’t speak English as their first language.
“New criteria is also encouraging you all to develop electronic resources. This is great and will help make lessons more inclusive while also reducing the need for additional teaching assistants. By simply converting text documents to audio files you can encourage multi-sensory learning in your classroom. By providing new vocab lists with pictures as well as text definitions you’re helping those students in the classroom who learn more visually.
“While you’re spending most of the day concentrating on the pupils in your classroom, you’ll also need to consider how to communicate with parents/carers (who may also have difficulties with their literacy.) Sending emails to parents can include an audio alternative to the text and the school website can be adapted to have a ‘listen’ and/or ‘simplify’ feature.
“By creating reasonable adjustments you’re not only meeting performance related pay criteria but actively encouraging participation in the classroom. There’s lots of Assistive Technology out there that can help provide reasonable adjustments in your classroom to help with a multitude of learning challenges.
“Text readers can be used to help pupils with visual impairments or who struggle to read themselves. Converting homework instructions and long pieces of text into audio files can also be a great help to these pupils, and their parents!
“Our own Read&Write provides you with a screen masking tool. Instead of using coloured paper or coloured overlays (which can easily be mislaid from one class to the next) pupils can change the colour of their whole screen to reduce visual stress symptoms. This is great for anyone, especially coming towards the end of the day when eyes are getting tired!”
Are you a teacher? Can you give us some more hints and tips? Let us know how AT has been helping you in your classroom.