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Me and my assistants

Q: I've been told I need to use my learning support assistants more effectively. I've got two in one lesson (a signer and a general assistant).

I provide lesson plans and we have a chat on Mondays about objectives for the week, activities, pupils to work with and so on. What else should I be doing?

A: It sounds as if you're doing the right things already - most learning support assistants would be delighted to work with such a communicative colleague. Perhaps this is more about managing the impression you're making than about the substance of your approach. Try:

* being explicit in your lesson plan about how you intend to use your learning support assistants

* asking LSAs for their advice about how you might be making better use of their skills and expertise. Their greatest strength is their close knowledge of the pupils they work with - let them tell you about successful approaches that work well in other lessons

* giving them a small role as observers of some small detail of your lesson. Listen to and act on their feedback

* letting them help you with differentiation by getting them to explain tasks to small groups who might have difficulty.

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