Learning Support Critical Reflexive Essay


LearningSupport Critical Reflexive Essay

LearningSupport Critical Reflexive Essay

Learninghas always been one of the most fundamental aspects of humandevelopment. Indeed, it is well acknowledged that the growth of anindividual from one stage or level to another will involve theincorporation of some lessons. This becomes even more pronounced ininstances where an individual makes his or her way into the formaleducation system at a certain age as the capacity to move from onelevel to another will have to involve the demonstration of havinglearnt fundamental lessons in the short-term and the long-term(Gardner, 2006, pp. 46). Unfortunately, there are instances where thestudents are deficient of the capacity to learn at the same pace asothers, as a result of the immense variations in their emotional,physical and psychological capabilities. In essence, it becomesimperative that they are offered some supplemental assistance so asto ensure that they are in the same league with their colleagues.This is essentially the basis for learning support (Gardner, 2006,pp. 46).

Learningsupport underlines the practices, strategies and resources that offerintellectual, emotional, physical and social support that is aimed atenabling students to have more of less equal opportunities forsucceeding in their academic endeavors through addressing thebarriers to, as well as promoting the engagement in teaching andlearning. It may also be seen as any additional assistance that isprovided to students who may not have the capacity to access a studyprogram or who, as a result of their disability or learningdifficulty, may need specialist support well beyond what is commonlyoffered in the college (Davidson, 2000, pp. 14). The instructionalstrategies and resources would have to encompass or incorporateintellectual, emotional, social and physical assistance necessary forlearning. Scholars have underlined the need for efforts to addressthe internal and external factors that hinder the ability of studentsto effectively engage with a particular curriculum must lay emphasison integrated and delineated curriculum content, just as is the casefor efforts that would enhance instruction (Davidson, 2000, pp. 14).Unfortunately, a large number of schools today are yet to have a welldesigned learning support. In an effort to safeguard equity ofopportunity, it is imperative that schools first coalesce the currentlearning support and develop them over time into an all-inclusive andenabling component that is fully integrated into the instructionalefforts.

Onthe basis of research regarding the things that schools need so as toeffectively address eliminate the barriers to teaching and learning,learning support may be grouped into varied categories of school-wideand classroom support systems, each of which is organized alongsideintegrated intervention continuum. The first category involves theimprovement of regular classroom strategies so as to promote learning(Gardner, 2006, pp. 46). This may, for instance, include improvingclassroom and instruction management so as to enhance engagement, aswell as re-engage students who are disengaged from learning in theacademic institution and pursue a response to the interventionstrategies for students that have a mild-to-moderate behavior orlearning problems. In addition, it would involve supporting changesand transitions, which, essentially is assisting students, as well astheir families as they go through the changes in school and grade,alongside numerous other transitions (Callister &amp Burbles, 1990,pp. 4). It has been well acknowledged that students often have atough time adjusting to changes that may occur at a particular timeof their lives, which could be detrimental to their development andacademic achievement. The third category involves the enhancement ofthe linkage or connections between school and home. This is in linewith the management of transitions since changes in the environmentmay also pose challenges to the students. Of course, it is not withinthe discretion of teachers to advice parents to make changes in theirhomes so as to accommodate their kids, rather, the teachers wouldhave to ensure that the school environment is as welcoming aspossible so as to ensure that the students are comfortable andcapable of learning. The fourth category would entail responding toand, if possible, averting the possibility of crisis (Dexter et al,1999, pp. 227). More often than not, students who are challengedintellectually or emotionally tend to have some less-than-welcomingbehaviors, which could cause chaos in the school environment. Thiscould be injurious to all students, in which case, it is imperativethat proper response and crisis prevention strategies or mechanismsare put in place (Callister &amp Burbles, 1990, pp. 4). Further,there is the category that revolves around the enhancement ofcommunity support and involvement. In this regard, the categoryunderlines the need for outreaching so as to come up with highercommunity support and involvement, including improved utilization oflinkages and volunteers to community resources that have the capacityto cover up the priority gaps in the support system (Iding et al,2002, pp. 164). The last category underlines the need for thefacilitation of family and student access to special assistance andeffective services when necessary.

Learningsupport, however, cannot be accomplished without the efforts or inputof learning support teachers. Learning support teachers are, moreoften than not, based in primary and post-primary schools andconcentrate in one-to-one or groups in the learning support room orclassroom. Their work primarily revolves around the planning andimplementation of effective teaching strategies, as well as liaisingwith the staff, teachers and other professionals so as to ensure thatthe students whose performance is a bit challenged can perform in abetter way. Indeed, they are employed so as to ensure that studentsthat have mild learning difficulties attain maximum proficiency innumeracy and proficiency prior to leaving primary schools. There is ahigh likelihood that a learning support teacher is shared betweenvaried schools at the same time. They assist pupils that have fallenbehind the larger part of their class and who are expected to requiresome assistance for a short time. Such students have to be withdrawnfrom the mainstream classes, with their lessons being carried out onareas where they are experiencing specific learning difficulties inskill areas such as numeracy, language, spelling, writing andreading. Of particular note is the fact that they are closelyconnected to and may actually have similar duties as specialeducation needs teachers.

Ofcourse, learning support workers have to collaborate with theteachers themselves in planning and implementation of the learningsupport work for the students. Studies carried out in varied schoolsshowed the varied areas in which they collaborated. One of the keyareas highlighted is in the monitoring and review of the variedprograms, composing reports for reviews, as well as liaising withexternal agencies. As much as the this was usually seen as aresponsibility of teachers, learning support workers are involved inthe process, with their views being perfectly considered. Indeed,some made written contributions to the annual reviews although alarge number of them had preference for providing verbal reports toteachers. As much as teachers undertake the report writing forreviews, the views of learning support workers are seen as crucial inthe provision of a more in-depth and detailed observation regardingcertain elements of the individual education plan (IEP). All in all,teachers undertook the planning of work programs while the learningsupport workers implemented them.

Inspecial schools which have particularly had a longer tradition foremploying LSAs than in mainstream schools, teachers still undertakethe responsibility for planning the IEPs and curriculum developmentwork for every other people. In this regard, the involvement of thelearning support workers varies between classrooms and is subject tothe relationship between the learning support workers and teachers,as well as their respective expertise. In some cases, the role oflearning support workers goes way beyond the provision of assistancein the implementation of behavior management programs that areintegral to the entire programs for pupils.

Further,it has been acknowledged that the in-class support is perfectlyeffective in mainstream classrooms and has to be organized in aparticular way. The effective performance of this area revolvesaround the learning support workers being fully informed about theobjectives and aims of the lessons, as well as about the pupilslearning needs, particularly where they need assistance. The learningsupport workers must have access to, as well as be familiar with theadapted and additional materials and specialist instruments that arenecessary and ensure that they, alongside the students, actuallyattend the whole class instructions. For them to work in this manner,it is imperative that they have a proper working relationship, trusteach other’s judgment, as well as have enough planning time.

Further,scholars have noted that there are varied principles on whichlearning support programs are based including the prevention offailure, effective whole-school policies, as well as parentalinvolvement, offering intensive early intervention, and, lastly, thedirection of every available resource to the pupils who are in thegreatest need (Hruskocy, 1999, pp. 43). The adherence to the statedprinciples would result in enhanced awareness in schools pertainingto the individual learning needs of students. Academic institutionsthat manage to tackle low achievement problem among students willneed to undertake varied actions. First, it must support pupils thathave learning difficulties and/or low achievement via a team approachthat would involve the teachers, students, parents, as well as therelevant support personnel such as language and speech therapists oreven psychologists. In addition, it places immense priority onenhancing or improving classroom-based learning, as well aspreventing learning difficulties in every level of the school.Further, it must come up with and implement whole-school supports,systems and policies for students that have difficulties in numeracyand Literacy (Collins, 1991, pp. 31). On the same note it would putin place effective home-school partnerships such as coming up withparental support strategies and offer learning-support programs forthe pupils who achieve the least in the school particularlyindividuals that are performing below the tenth percentile on thenationally standardized tests for numeracy and Literacy. Similarly,such schools must, if necessary, offer supplementary lessons for theminority of students in the senior portion of the school, i.e. 3rdto 6thclasses, who are yet to attain basic competence in numeracy andLiteracy or individuals whose performance is below the 10thpercentile in the nationally standardized tests for numeracy andliteracy. Lastly, such schools will come up with and implementindividual learning programs for every student who is receivingsupplementary teaching on the basis of an evaluation of needs, aswell as a specification of the learning targets for the individual.Such programs would be crafted and implemented by the learningsupport teachers in collaboration with the pupil’s class teacherand parents.

Asexpected, numerous theories have been developed and re-designed so asto explain the most appropriate way for enhancing learning throughlearning support. As much as there are variations in the variedtheories, it is evident that their utilization and combination isaimed to cover the gaps that each comes with. One of the key learningtheories is objectivism, whose conceptions assume that knowledge maybe transferred from the instructors to the students or transmitted bythe use of technologies and obtained by the learners. Scholars haveacknowledged that objectivists have their primary concern as theassurance or ensuring that the content so created and implemented isaccurate and all-inclusive with regard to the ultimate truth as theyperceive it. This theory has varied underlying beliefs including thethought that knowledge exists as a distinct entity from knowing, andthat realist exists irrespective of the existence of the consciousbeings (Davis &amp Resta, 2002, pp. 116). Further, there is thebelief that human beings obtain knowledge in objective ways via thesenses and that learning involves the acquisition of truth and can beprecisely measured using tests. This theory runs counter to theinquiry/discovery learning theory, where discovery learningunderlines a technique of inquiry-based instruction that is based onthe belief that it is most appropriate that the learners and studentsdiscover the relationships and facts themselves rather than havingtheir teachers make attempts to inculcate such knowledge in theirsystems. Such inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory occurs inproblems where the student is required to solve particular problems,in which case he would draw on his or her own past experience, aswell as the existing knowledge so as to discover the relationshipsand truths that have to be learnt (Davis &amp Resta, 2002, pp. 116).

Ofcourse, the application of technology in education, as proposed bythe objectivist theory, would be much welcome. However, it isnoteworthy that such utilization makes a distinction between learningwith computers and learning from computers. A large proportion ofresearch and development with technology was based on considerationsregarding the enhanced learning that may be obtained in instanceswhere computers played a crucial role in the delivery of content andcreation of learning opportunities that would assist students in making meaning and developing a comprehension of the text andconcepts at hand (Beyerbach et al, 2001, pp. 116). Such settings camewith a distinctly reduced role of the teacher, with scholarssuggesting that the more effective and opportunistic utilization oftechnology in education comes up where learning is obtained with theassistance of technology, and the resultant environment would be onein which technology scaffolds and supports learning instead of beingderivative or the object of the learning. On the same note, scholarshave stated that in constructivist-learning environments technologywould play a crucial role in the daily activities and should not bethe object of instruction (Becker, 1994, pp. 32). In instances whereit is used in a constructivist manner, technology would be utilizedin the manipulation of data, exploration of relationships, active anddeliberate processing of information, the construction of sociallyshared and personal meaning, as well as reflection of the students onthe process of learning.

Onthe same note, scholars have underlined the fact that technologicalapplications that are in support of learning in such a manner areusually seen as cognitive tools, with more research currentlyunderlining the benefits that are obtained from such applications.Cognitive tools outline applications such as semantic network tools,knowledge construction tools, spreadsheets, calculators,communications software, databases and others, whose criticalattribute would not be the information that they possess but ratherthe forms and types of learner engagement and learner activity thatthey encourage and support (Becker, 1992, pp. 22). Nevertheless, suchtools should not undermine the importance of the teacher ininstructing and guiding students. Indeed, cognitive tools stillnecessitate that there be an informed teacher who would supervise anddesign the learning activity, while the cognitive tools amplify anddistribute the cognitive tasks via their application and design inthe contemporary classrooms and in support of the students. Scholarsalso came up with the idea of mindtools, which include computer basedlearning environments and tools that have been developed and adaptedto operate as intellectual partners with learners so as to facilitateand engage higher-order learning and critical thinking (Brush &ampBannon, 1998, pp. 49). In this regard, the mindtool would extend thecognitive functioning of the learner in the course of the learningprocess and engage him in the operations while also constructing ordeveloping knowledge that the students would not have managed toaccomplish otherwise. They give the students the capacity to becritical thinkers, where the learners would engage in theconstruction of knowledge rather than its reproduction. The use ofcommonly available software would allow learners to employ technologyin the representation and construction of knowledge (Irving, 1991,pp. 219). Researchers acknowledge that computers have the capacity toenhance the students capabilities for solving problems since they aremostly used in environments where individuals are drawn tocollaborate naturally due to their cultural expectations (Howard etal, 2000, pp. 459).

Inaddition, situated learning has underlined the need for a change inthe traditional forms of education. Situated learning may simply bedefined as the notion pertaining to learning skills and knowledge inthe contexts that are a reflection of the manner in which knowledgeis to be applicable in real life. This situated cognition model isfounded on the notion that knowledge remains contextually situatedand is basically influenced by the context, activity and culture inwhich it is utilized (Bagley &amp Hunter, 1992, pp. 25). Learning,in this case, is seen as an inseparable and integral component ofsocial practice and that every activity is situated. This is not meresituation in practice as if learning is some autonomously reifiableprocess that has just be located in some place, rather it comes as anintegral component of the generative social practice in the worldwhere the individuals live (Brush &amp Bannon, 1998, pp. 49).

Oneof the notable things about these theories is the deficiency ofassertions regarding the importance of collaboration between thevaried stakeholders in the education of individuals irrespective oftheir academic capabilities. Scholars have well acknowledged theimportance of the involvement of the parents, teachers and students,as well as the community at large in the enhancement of theeducational capabilities of individuals (Garrison&ampVaughan, 2008,pp. 46). However, it is evident that the theories come off aspromoting the incorporation of other aspects such as technology insupport of learning. Of course, it is well acknowledged that childrenwill have their interest piqued by the incorporation of technologyand would likely have their performance enhanced in the long-term(Ayersman, 1996, pp. 517). However, it is questionable whether suchstrategies would have much success beyond the educational performanceenhancement.

Nevertheless,the United Kingdom has put in place strategies and standards thatwould enhance the performance of low-achieving students. The 8thstandard, which is based on the Children Act 1989, Section 22 (3A) states that it is the “dutyof the local authority to promote the attainment of education”.The intended outcome for this standard is the active promotion ofeducation and achievement of kids as valuable in itself, as well as acomponent for their preparation for adulthood (Archer, 1999, pp. 45).In this regard, all children would need to have a home thatencourages a learning environment and props their development. Inthis home, the children would be assisted in the achievement of theirtraining and educational goals, with the carers being supported towork with the educational provider of the child in the maximizationof the achievement of the child and minimization of underachievement(Beaver, 1990, pp. 45). On the same note, the carers would work andengage with the academic institutions in supporting the children’seducation including the advocating for assistance that would allowfor overcoming of problems that the child may experience in theireducational setting. The 8thstandard comes in support of the 2ndstandard, which underlines the need for enhancing the health of thechild so as to allow him or her to learn, cooperate and concentrateon his or her education (Albion, 1996, pp. 66). This would entail theprovision of all the needs of the child and allowing for properrelaxation so as to enhance learning. However, such strategies wouldbe ineffective if the collaboration between the stakeholders is notobtained or safeguarded.


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