SENIT-Special Education Network in Thailand

What happened at the Sixth Meeting of SENIT.

SENIT (Special Education Network in Thailand) meets twice a year in Thailand. The sixth meeting was hosted by Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chang Mai on Monday 27 April 2015. This provided a perfect opportunity for teachers and others working within special education to discuss developments in practice and to share their experiences and ideas.

The ‘North’ was well represented by schools from around Chang Mai. In addition to the host school PREM, there were participants from Chang Mai International School, Lanna International School, Grace International School as well as NIST International School in Bangkok.

Welcome by Head of School

Participants were welcomed by the Head of School at PREM, who emphasised the importance of partnership in the provision of Learning Support for all learners with the Learning Support specialist supporting teachers in the classroom. There should be a transfer of knowledge about students within the school with all teachers in contact with children, parents and outside specialists. Everyone should be challenging all students to meet their potential.

Visiting School Program

Linda gave an introduction to some of the services offered within the visiting school program. These include:

  • The working farm
  • Teamwork and leadership: challenges, e.g. ropes, climbing, rafts
  • Thai cooking and fruit carving
  • Overnight camping on campus
  • Education trips provided: throughout Thailand
  • Outdoor education, service learning and experiential programs
  • Sustainability and watershed programs- including a barge program on Chao Phraya River which can be residential
  • Wellness community programs

For more information about VSP visit the website: www.threegenerations.com

Topics for the day

  • Writing Strategies-VCOP/Kung Fu
  • IPad Apps
  • Small group talks
  • Feeding back to larger groups
  • Online resource mobymax (reading, math, grammar, writing, etc)
  • Co-teaching: Myth or Reality?
VCOP strategies for immediate impact on writing from emergent to fluent writers.
  • Vocabulary
  • Connectives
  • Openers
  • Punctuation

Anita showed how children could be encouraged to widen their use of language, resulting in richer writing. We learned that ‘wow words’ could really make us say, ‘wow!’ And we all had a go at ‘punctuation Kung-Fu’. Great fun, but you had to be there!

iPad Apps

Core Apps:

  • Book Creator
  • Explain Everything
  • imovie
And More
  • Thinglink
  • reflector – to beam ipad onto screen $12
  • aurasma
  • Green Screen search app store for  ‘green screen by do ink’ – a great app that allows layers to be built up
  • AutoRap : can turn spoken word (or song) into a rap – good for poetry
  • Prodigy Math
  • istopmotion
Some other software and resources we talked about

mobymax.com (an on-line resource) for

  • reading comprehension
  • writing
  • grammar
  • vocabulary
  • math

$99 for a user – who can then add classes

prodigy //www.prodigygame.com – a free math program. You can create assignments from topics. Get feedback.

Recommended from our Group discussion:

Read Naturally: Take Aim Vocabulary for dyslexic readers

Jamestown Comprehension skills series with writing activities

Co-teaching: myth or reality?

Beth asked the question, ‘Co-teaching: myth or reality?’

The big hurdle is finding the time for planning. This is essential  – but may not be timetabled. Co-teaching works best when you find people who want to do it – rather than when it is imposed on teachers – and when there is understanding between the teachers.

It may take time to get used to different teaching styles and different classroom expectations. But it is worth it!

Thanks to Lynne and the team at PREM. Hope to see everyone at SENIT next time!

SENIT is a local chapter of SENIA – see the website for more information http://www.senia.asia/local-chapter-news/senit/ or the SENIT site https://sites.google.com/a/isb.ac.th/senit/home/about-us

Please feel free to make comments below – It will make a change from all the spam I have to delete!

SENIA 2015 – Special Education Network in Asia – Conference

The SENIA – Special Education Network in Asia -Conference 2015 took place in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia from March 26 to 28, 2015. This year the SENIA conference combined with the EARCOS Teacher Conference.

The conference took place in a smart resort with views out over the bay that would fit most people’s idea of a tropical island paradise, and yes, there were opportunities for sundowners by the pool with the waves lapping on the beach! However, there was much work to be done during the day!

I was privileged to be at a Pre- Conference  ‘Brain frames: Graphic Tools for Language, Literacy, Teaching and Learning’ with Dr Bonnie Singer.  This whole day session allowed us to benefit from Bonnie’s immense experience both as a practitioner and researcher. This was made even more enjoyable as she has a relaxed and professional presentation style. Once we came to the rest of the conference her sessions were first on my list! Needless to say, I cannot begin to go into the details of ‘Brain Frames’TM but suffice to say that I am already trying out some of the six basic graphic organisers with the children who I support at school.

For more information on Brain Frames visit http://www.architectsforlearning.com

It was during a further session that Dr Singer made the argument that  I considered to be the biggest ‘take-away’ of the conference, the importance of ‘spacial’ memory in language comprehension. The ability to ‘see’ or visualise content is so important to comprehension as it allows us to recognise and understand why and how different text structures look different. It allows us to sort out what are main ideas, and what are details. I work with children who have difficulties with executive function and with visual working memory, and I see them struggle with comprehension every day. Hopefully using some of these visual and graphical tools will allow them to build up their ability to ‘visualise’.

One of the great advantages of SENIA for a special needs or learning support teacher is the sheer number of sessions that are directly relevant to that field. It was fantastic to hear Lori Bol and Stephen Shore talking about Autism from their experiences as well as their studies. Dr Shore is an adult on the autism spectrum and Lori Bol has a son who is on the autism spectrum. As we strive towards making the most of the strengths of  people on the autism spectrum there is so much we can learn from those who experience autism everyday of their lives.

If you are a learning support teacher in Asia, you should try to get to the annual SENIA conference as part of your professional development. I hope to see you in Kuala Lumpur next year!

More information about SENIA is available on the website http://www.senia.asia/