Pedagogy: noun – the method and practice of teaching
Let’s assume that, as an educator, as a teacher, you entered the profession for all the ‘right’ reasons – reasons of moral integrity, altruism and public service. Of course the pay, the holidays, the classroom autonomy and the status might still attract some. But you are intrinsically a good person. You do this frontline work because:
Excellent. Let’s assume we agree. But what do these laudable aims actually represent?
This clearly should be a prerequisite for going into any classroom, hall, conference centre, government briefing room or any other learning space. But merely feeling a warm kindness towards your charges is not enough. To care for learners you need to know what makes them tick. You need to know whether there are any gaps in their development, in their learning, and in their skills. You need to know how ready they are to learn.
There are many platforms out there which will help you to establish these benchmarks, many run by large, established firms. But there is only one relatively new system which profiles the entire learner developmentally. Many claims are made by the big companies for their platforms, systems you may be using right now. But only one system really delivers.
Success is always relative. What do we actually mean by succeed? To ‘get’ the learning objective, perhaps? To finish the task? To contribute to the lesson positively? Success is a step forward, a breakthrough, a gap filled, a goal achieved. Or at least a goal moved towards. And to achieve this, particularly for your neurodiverse learners, you need a sensitive, holistic system that tracks every one of those tiny steps towards a goal. Your standard platform – maybe the one you are using right now – might do this for 80% of your learners, but what about the other 20%? You need the specialists. The market is crowded, the big players make big claims, but when it comes to developmental delays only one player hits the back of the net every time.
This should be easy. Even under the dull weight of syllabus requirements we can surely inject fun into our lessons. But be careful. Enjoyment isn’t the same as fun. Enjoyment comes from feeling a sense of ownership about one’s learning, a sense of tangible progress and achievement. And this only comes when the educator has pitched the work exactly at the challenge level for each learner. And for some learners this will require a very smart tracking system. And there is only one system that fits the bill.
Progress is everything. You might have a class of students working at GCSE grade 5. But what if a year ago some of them were at grade 6? You need to show the journey they are on. Attendance at 82%? Doesn’t sound good. Attendance was at 42% last year? That’s progress. For the neurodiverse learner you need to be able to demonstrate every tiny step of progress. They may spend a year within one major standardised assessment level in your national curriculum, but in that time they may also have achieved four key developmental goals. You need a rich, research-based platform to measure and demonstrate that micro-level progress. Luckily there is a system that can smash that job easily.
Of course you do! You want more for less! But surely that’s an impossible goal? Well, there is a system that, for the tiniest investments in your time will, in return, deliver a rich, deep, detailed range of data, targets, progress measures and strategies you can use in your classroom. Time is one of your most valuable resources. If you teach neurodverse learners, if you are a SENCo or a senior leader in special education, why waste this precious resource? You need to invest in a cost effective platform that is not only up to date, but future-proof.