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Effective Communication in the Classroom

Or how to work in partnership with your Teaching Assistant

By Helen Cadman, SENCO, Chadsmead Primary Academy & SEND Network Lead

All Teaching assistants have all recently been invited to attend training on Effective Communication in the Classroom.

As part of the day, information was shared about the following aspects of communication:

  • Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants

  • EEF Recommendation: Making Effective use of Teaching Assistants – Strand 3

  • National Curriculum elements relating to Speaking, Listening and Communication

  • School Inspection Handbook information relating to ‘Interaction’ with children.

  • Early Years ELG information relating to communication.

  • Reducing educational Disadvantage by Penny Tossini

  • Still Face Experiment (Youtube)

Teaching assistants were reminded of and/or introduced to the following background information relating to effective communication that impacts on a child’s ability to learn:

  • EEF Recommendations: What is Self-Scaffolding, Prompting, Cueing, Modelling and Correcting?

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need: Physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualisation

  • Language Pyramid: Adult/ Child Interaction, Looking and Listening, Play, Understanding, Talking, Speaking

  • Communication Triangle: Words, Vocal tone, Facial Expression and Body Language

The following practical strategies to support children in their learning and help move learning forward were shared with teaching assistants and teaching assistants were asked to formulate their own plan of action, which will inform their own classroom practise during 2023/2024 and could provide structure / focus for Growing Great People person targets.

  • Shrek Approach: Share, Respond, Expand, Conversation

  • Effective questioning

  • Open and Closed Questioning

  • Time…the need to wait (five second rule) following a question to allow for processing time #

  • Blooms Taxonomy

  • Blanks level Questions

  • Question Matrix

  • Cueing Techniques

  • Scaffolds – such as Communication in Print to provide visual resources

As a result, Teaching Assistants in your setting should be sharing the resources they were given with you, talking about what strategy they are currently trying to develop – we suggested focusing on one each half term - and use the strategy they have chosen in their work with children.

In doing so, should enable them to be more effective communicators and conversations in your classroom should move learning reducing incidental and non-purposeful conversations.

Any feedback and information regarding the outcomes from the training is very welcome in order to help measure the impact that the training has on children’s outcomes.

I hope you have found this handout useful.

Helen Cadman. (SENCO & SEND Network Lead)


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