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Date Posted: 03:06:21 03/11/09 Wed
I work with young offenders aged 10 – 17 who are on the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) in the Gwent area of South Wales, UK.
ISSP is targeted at: Persistent young offenders; Those that commit a serious crime; For those young people who have been sentenced to a Detention and Training Order (DTO) and have been eligible for early release; Those that have been offered ISSP as part of ‘bail’ conditions.
Young people are on ISSP for six months and cover the following elements: Education, Training and employment; Offending behaviour; Interpersonal skills; Family support; Restorative justice; Substance misuse; Accommodation; Health; Mental health; Leisure/constructive pursuits.
As part of my role as the Education Development Officer I assess the learner using the following assessment tools:
Literacy Assessment (IT based) outcomes are Basic Skills equivalent Entry 1,2, 3 or GCSE equivalent Level 1 or 2;
Numeracy Assessment (IT based) outcomes are Basic Skills equivalent Entry 1,2, 3 or GCSE equivalent Level 1 or 2;
Learning Styles questionnaire; Reading age (Chronological age against reading age); Dyslexia Screening Test: Positive Indicator (Low, medium or high*); *LADS Plus: Lucid Adult Dyslexia Screening Plus (Further assessment if achieve high on Dyslexia Screening test)
The outcomes of the assessments are then recorded on to an ‘Education Recommendation Form’. Information on the form includes: Literacy level, Numeracy level, Dyslexia screening score, Reading age, Learning style, recommended delivery (1:1, pairs, small/large groups), SEN Information as well as delivery type. The Education Recommendation form acts a summary of learning for the young person; it is used as a basis for a young person’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP).
The ILP is targeted at the young person with SMART targets to achieve for each of the ISSP elements over a six month period. The targets are reviewed every six weeks which enables ISSP staff but most importantly the young person to look at his/her accomplishments over a six week period and finally over the six months as a whole. The ILP gives the young person a sense of ownership and responsibility.
The way we work with young people at ISSP whether they are Dyslexic or not are as follows:
Resources: Our resource library is set to a three level tier system. When a young person is assessed we look at their Literacy and Numeracy outcome to determine which tier level s/he will be put on to. Tier 1 is for young people who have had a low outcome and will require extra support as well as one to one sessions, tier two is for young people who can work in a small group but may need extra support from time to time and finally tier three is for those who can work independently with confidence and who can work in groups and do not need extra support unless they require it.
Each resource whether it is Offending Behaviour, Interpersonal Skills or Education is set to the correct tier and incorporates learning styles so that there is a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning.
Session plans: Every resource includes a session plan which includes an aim and an objective, the main activities with estimated time to complete set tasks, an evidence checklist, key skills checklist as well as a recap and plenary at the end to show if learning has taken place.
Sessions: Sessions start with the young person collecting their work folder and the work for the relevant session. Sessions then start with an aim and objective, followed by an ice-breaker activity, followed by the set tasks ending with a recap and plenary and evaluation of the session. The structure of the session enables young people at ISSP to have a form of routine in their lives.
Sessions include a variety of tasks to complete during ninety minutes which are of a multi-sensory approach and may include a mixture of worksheets and activities in the form of group exercises, games, IT equipment, discussions and DVD’s.
Instructions: During the session, instructions/tasks are broken down so that the young person can comprehend what s/he needs to complete during the ninety minute session.
Work folder: Every young person has a work folder at ISSP. Their work folder includes a copy of their ILP, Education recommendation form and work that they have being working on during their six months at ISSP. The work folders are reviewed every six weeks as part of their ILP review. The young people at ISSP take pride in their work folders and that can be expressed in the quality and quantity of work completed.
Work: The young people are encouraged to complete core work which includes Literacy and Numeracy, Interpersonal Skills (Independent Living), Offending Behaviour, Substance misuse and Leisure/Constructive pursuits as well as optional work which includes Personal projects which are based on the young person’s hobbies and interests, such as History (War, American West, Fashion), Sport (Community Sport, Human Body and Health & Fitness), and Expressive arts (Photography, Music, Art and Movies) to give examples.
Both the core and personal project work is set to a session plan which the young person follows. Within that session plan the young person has an evidence checklist and key skills list to follow. The evidence checklist is highlighted in bold print so that the young person can differentiate the keywords from other text. Young people evidence their work through photo’s, mind-maps, worksheets, creative writing, art work, music, research notes, witness statements from staff etc.
Strengths & Rewards: Strengths are focused on during sessions and young people are rewarded for completing work and/or personal projects.
Other teaching strategies which I would recommend for dyslexic children and teenagers:
Talk to your learners, explaining clearly your instructions;
Listen to their answers;
Read stories or poems to them frequently and make it fun;
Encourage painting so that it can be developed gradually into writing and drawing.
Teach sound of the letters not names;
Play games to highlight sequencing;
Chunking is useful as it helps learners to remember information more effectively as it places together pieces of information that are similar.
Promote leisure interests to enhance self-esteem;
Using learning styles is important when embarking upon new learning, this can help to minimise the likelihood of failure and loss of motivation.
Repetition/over-learning is important for spelling rules, learning new facts and ideas.
Encourage the use of IT such as word processors and laptops;
Use previous knowledge as sometimes learners cannot always make a connection between new learning and what they already know. By using a piece of paper and dividing it into two columns labelled: ‘What I already know’ and ‘What I need to find out’. This gives a learner structure for learning new material.
Use post-it notes as good reminders;
The right environment, find out from your learner/s if s/he like to work quietly/talk to people whilst working/have a lot of space when working/background noise or music? Also consider sound, light, temperature and classroom layout.
Use mind-mapping methods which will help essays and revisions;
Celebrate their achievements and commiserate with their failures.
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