Supporting Students with ALN

All teachers have a responsibility to support students with Additional Learning Needs, and at Cardiff & Vale Tutors we ensure that all children are able to succeed, grow and learn in ways that best fit their needs. In this blog we will explore some of the things our tutors can do to support young people with ALN.

 

1. Understanding Individual Needs

One of the biggest advantages of one-to-one tuition, is the opportunity for the tutor to get to know each individual young person really well. While teachers do an excellent job at getting to know their students well at school, when delivering tuition there is more time to pay attention to the small details of every individuals’ needs. Tutors have the privilege of dedicating more lesson time to tutor-student relationship building which results in a better understanding of what support a student needs, how best to motivate them and which strategies for progress will work best for that student. For students who struggle with anxiety, for example, it can be daunting to meet a new adult with whom they must work with on subjects that might already bring them discomfort, however, it’s often the case that tutors become a students’ most trusted source of support and help.

2. Quality First Teaching

Research shows that the best way to support students, and especially those with disadvantages, is by delivering excellent teaching (EEF, 2022). What does that mean in practice for tutors? Tutors are aware of the latest research and plan their tutoring lessons to include strategies which support retrieval practice, enabling students to work on their long-term memory, and metacognition which is the process of a student reflecting upon the success and where there is room for improvement once they have completed a task. Therefore, through continuous evidence-based practice tutors can deliver high quality teaching that will support students’ attainment and enable them to achieve the best that they are capable of.

3. Scaffolding of Tasks

As tutors can have a deeper understanding of a students’ needs, they are better able to scaffold tasks. Scaffolding is a way for teachers, and tutors alike, to support a student with a task. It can be something like providing the student with key words or sentence starters, doing a similar question together before setting the student off on an independent task and so much more. Tutors can provide students with ALN scaffolds that are very specific to their needs and current level, and then can take those scaffolds away when a student is ready and able to tackle the task without the additional support, which is a key part of scaffolding as too much support has the potential to become a hindrance. It’s like taking the training wheels off a bicycle after a child has grown in confidence and gained some skills to cycle independently.

Overall, tutoring is an excellent way to support students with ALN because tutors can work closely with students to provide tailored lessons. Some students with ALN get offered one-to-one support in their schools through interventions, and despite there being benefits to that, there can be drawbacks too as this provision usually takes place within other lessons and evidence suggests that taking students out from those lessons, for the intervention, can set them back. Tutoring which takes place after school, for the majority of students, however, does not interfere with school lessons and instead can aid learning in the main classroom.

Sources

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). (2022). Moving forwards, making a difference: A planning guide for schools 2022-2023, p.5.

Available at: https://d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net/production/documents/School_Planning_Guide_2022-23.pdf?v=1707915985 [Accessed on 14 February 2024].

 

This blog was written by Alex Dul -do check out more of her posts by reading our previous blogs.

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