How Social Organisation and Relationships May Affect the Learning Process?
Social organisation and relationships may affect the learning process in many different ways. In many subjects children will be set in groups according to their ability, this allows them to move forward with their learning and not to be held up by learners that may need more support, which can be given by the teacher or teaching assistant. All pupils need to be continually assessed and monitored through testing and teacher assessment to allow rapid change in groups when needed also to make sure progress is being made.
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There is, however, a significant problem with setting by ability; no matter how many wonderful names you give the lower sets; all children are aware of which set they are in and this can lead to low self esteem and confidence and can have a detrimental effect on their learning. It can also lead to bullying and name calling from other children. Although sometimes it is also beneficial for them to be of mixed ability so the children are able to peer mentor, thus improving their self esteem, confidence and social skills, whilst giving them a sense of achievement.
Working with an adult in small groups also helps children who may be easily distracted remain focused and stay on task. When grouping children, even in ability sets, it is important to focus on the seating arrangement of that group as this can also have an impact on the outcome of the lesson ie children that are known to cause disruptions should be sat near the door or the teaching assistant so they can be kept on task or easily removed if necessary. Children whom are known to be chatty should be placed near the teacher or other adult support so they can be easily reminded to remain focused and on task.
It can take a little while for any new group to ‘gel’ and time should be given for this to happen. There are many different reasons why a group may not ‘gel’ such as relationships or personality traits; with in a group of children there may be an SEN, a leader, a loner, a joker, the quiet/shy one and the disengaged child; it is imperative to know the group of children you are working with; be able to sit them in an appropriate seating arrangement to enable them to achieve their best outcome of each lesson. Adult interaction with in groups must always be positive and encouraging.
It helps keep children focused and on task. The adult is their to support all children and must be able to work in a number of different ways to help each child; eg a shy, quiet child may need support in being heard by the group, an SEN child may need the problem broken down into an easier explanation to understand it. This is why it is vital to get to know the learners as quickly as possible to you can give them the support they need this in turn will help to boost their confidence and their self esteem making them eager to learn and achieve more.
There are however some problems that can occur when supporting learning activities; knowing what these maybe beforehand can help you to either avoid them altogether or assist you in dealing with them if they do occur. The learning activity maybe too challenging or to easy for the group you are working with, feeding back to your teacher from the previous lesson will help to inform future planning and avoid this happening. Therefore it is vital that you are given the planning ahead of time so you are aware of what you and the group will be expected to achieve within the lesson.
It is important that the resources are planned and are available before the lesson otherwise you may find there are not enough resources or you do not have the correct resources and this will have a detrimental effect on the learning as this will cause unnecessary disruption and delay to the lesson; the resources also need to be age appropriate and up to date. The learning environment is also an important factor in children’s learning; each child should have enough space so their personal space is not compromised as this may cause conflict or disruptions.
The setting must be adapted for any child with a disability and support must be provided for the child to allow them to be successful in their learning. To allow each child best possible chance for them to achieve and learn effectively the setting must be clear from clutter and tidy; be of the correct temperature; be ventilated and be a calm environment ie disruption from their peers; consideration to grouping and where pupils are sat will assist with this. Assessment of all children needs to be ongoing and regular as groups need to be free flowing and regularly changed so children can move forward with their learning.
Teachers need to be able to use assessment to inform their future planning and feedback from support staff help them to do this; it also helps them to adapt and adjust learning activities for each group/class to match their abilities. In conclusion, recognition of problems which arise need to be addressed as soon as possible to give the children the best possible chance of success in all aspects of their learning. Assessment and feedback are important tools to inform future planning and help children move forward in their learning. It is also imperative to be able to self evaluate and improve the support you are giving to the children.