What it's all about
When I was forwarded an email entitled "interested?" from a member of the senior leadership team more than 18 months ago, I was intrigued to see that the University of Exeter was carrying out a new research project into moderate learning difficulties, writes Daniel Hartley.
Definitions of MLD vary, but a common one is: "Pupils with MLD will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum, despite appropriate interventions." My school was one of 20 involved in the first wave of research in 2010-11.
The project used a teaching approach known as Lesson Study, which involves identifying five pupils in a class, some with MLD, then planning a lesson that will engage all of them. This process is repeated in two more lessons, with planning and observation sessions in between, with teachers across subject areas planning a lesson together.
In one science lesson, Year 8 (S1) pupils moved between activities in five-minute bursts, and teachers could use their expertise to tailor the tasks. Our intervention specialist recommended literacy activities to help the SENASN pupils grasp key words and our geographer suggested a method of data collection that required pupils to circle the correct answer on a worksheet to avoid wasting time.
The observation phase is to judge how the pupils respond. The key is to move away from isolated teaching, open your doors and let others in.
For an inclusive history class, check out the MLD history resources on TES. ttrb's research on teaching strategies for pupils with learning difficulties will help you understand what works for different students.