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Developing professional learning for staff working with children with speech, language and communication needs combined with moderate-to-severe learning difficulties

Anderson, Carolyn (2010) Developing professional learning for staff working with children with speech, language and communication needs combined with moderate-to-severe learning difficulties. British Journal of Special Education, 38 (1). pp. 9-18. ISSN 0952-3383

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Abstract

Children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) often present challenges in interaction where teachers may need specialist knowledge. In this article, Carolyn Anderson of the University of Strathclyde examines how teachers and classroom assistants (N=49) developed their professional learning for working with these pupils. A questionnaire revealed limited evidence of pre or post-qualification training in topics or number of hours teaching relating to SLCN. In the absence of formal learning opportunities, most teachers reported learning from others with experience or from reflecting on their own practice. They valued feedback from peers on their teaching practice. The results suggest that school teams should agree on definitions for reflective practice and feedback and how these contribute to professional learning. Lack of access to or availability of formal learning opportunities may be an important factor in shaping teachers' perceptions of their competence and confidence in working with children who have speech, language and communication needs.