Moderate learning difficulties

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Moderate Learning Difficulties:
the term and pedagogic implications
Rationale for study
- pupils with moderate learning difficulties (MLD)
represent the largest proportion of those identified as
having special educational needs in the school
system,
- neglected as a focus for educational initiatives.
- 25% of all pupils identified as having SEN at school
action plus or with Statements in ordinary and special
schools
- neglect attributed to several factors.
– come disproportionately from families who
experience socio-economic disadvantage
– no well established advocacy or voluntary group
dedicated to the interests of these pupils
– historic uncertainty about pupils with MLD :
between those with severe intellectual disabilities
and ‘normal’ pupils who are lower attaining
–
historic uncertainty about pupils with MLD between those with severe intellectual disabilities and ‘normal’ pupils who are lower attaining
British Education Index Search:
References found by ‘title and abstract’ search for:
Moderate LD
35
Specific LD
65
Dyslexic/ia
403
Autism/ic
450
Behaviour difficulties
74
Emotional difficulties
176
Moderate learning difficulties
1. Not low attainment – not severe intellectual disability
2. Traditionally defined in IQ terms : 50/55-70 range
3. Subject to much critique – ethnic / cultural bias/ use of IQ;
intelligence tests
4. Terminology changes/sensitivity: Mental deficiency, Educational
imbeciles, Feeble minded, Mild /moderate educational subnormal,
Educational mentally retarded, Mild/moderate intellectual disability
5. Terms and meaning vary internationally
6. Socially constructed term – serving dominant interests
7. Raises questions about : what is special education, who needs it?
8. Acid test’ of inclusion policies.
Moderate learning difficulties
Pupils with moderate learning difficulties will have attainments significantly
below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum, despite appropriate
interventions. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal
differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum.
They should only be recorded as MLD if additional educational
provision is being made to help them to access the curriculum.
Pupils with moderate learning difficulties have much greater difficulty than
their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in
understanding concepts. They may also have associated speech and
language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and underdeveloped social skills.”
(DfES, 2003)
Statistics on MLD at SA+ and Statement in ordinary
and special schools (2008 DfE stats)
MLD
% of all with SEN
Numbers
Primary SA+
30.4*
Primary Statement
13.5***
Primary Total
27.2*
Secondary SA+
27.1**
Secondary
Statement
23.6*
Secondary total
26.2**
Special SA+
4.9
Special Statement
23.3**
(after SLD)
Special total
22.9**
(after SLD)
Total SA+
28.9*
127,880
Total Statement
20.7*
44,100
Total overall
26.2*
171,960
(after SLCN, ASD)
(after BESD)
(after BESD)
* highest %; ** 2nd highest %; *** third highest %
Table 1:
Crowther et al. (2001) system for defining MLD
Associated with
No other significant
difficulties
Significant
emotional and
behavioural
difficulties
Significant
sensory/medical
difficulties
Milder learning
difficulties
More severe
learning difficulties
Figure 1:
Concept map of themes in LEA definitions’ of MLD term
not use
term
low
cognitive
ability
associated
difficulties
not SLD nor
SpLD
MLD
specify
cut-off
low
attainment
and ability
low
attainment
cross
curriculum
Desforges (2006) review:
“achievement of pupils with MLD at Key stage 3 and 4,
these pupils underachieve radically”
DCSF statistics 2009,
Achieving 5ACEM:
50.7% overall
16.5% with SEN
2008
Achieving KS2 Level 4+ Eng and Maths:
84.6% overall
33.7% SEN
DCSF (2010)
% of pupils with Statements/SA+ in each areas of
SEN achieving level 4+ in Eng and Maths
%
numbers
Specific LD
22.7
9,042
Moderate LD
11.1
19,480
Severe LD
21
2,410
Beh, Emot Soc D
36.2
12,116
Visual Impairment
52.5
652
3 prototypes (LA use) :
1. definitions in terms of low curriculum attainments (all /
a number), with cut-offs specified and with associated
areas of difficulties;
2. definitions in terms of low attainments AND cognitive
abilities, with cut-offs specified, distinguished from severe
and specific learning difficulties and with associated
areas of difficulties;
3. not use MLD term.
Is there a difference between MLD, low
attainment and specific learning difficulties
SpLD?
- depends on definition: attainment only OR
attainment AND cognitive ability
- MLD as general learning difficulty; SpLD as
specific difficulty
- categoric versus dimensional (continuum
position)
- dimensional with pragmatic cut offs
Specific – general learning difficulties
uneven
even
Specific
General
LD: MLD
LD
Range of attainments
MLD
low attaining
average attaining
high attaining
Why use the term MLD?
Is it a disability, like severe learning difficulties?
Or is it just very low attainment?
- Raises dilemma about differentiating this group
1.If do we identify MLD as an area of SEN / disability?
Risks – negative labelling, false identification ad disability/SEN
2. If do we not identify it as difficulty / disability
but as part of the continuum of attainment?
Risks – overlook rights / needs of some vulnerable pupils,
lose additional resources
3 options for resolving dilemma:
1. Retain and specify MLD category as an area of
SEN
2. Abandon MLD as a SEN category: consider as very
low attainment provide in terms of compensatory
education / social inclusion framework.
3. Abandon MLD for majority, redefine new
tighter category of mild mixed difficulties for
minority.
What positive difference does this make for teaching?
Is there a specific set of MLD relevant teaching
strategies?
- Little research; what written suggests no MLD specific
pedagogy teaching (Fletcher-Campbell, 2004)
- various teaching approaches relevant to MLD but
also relevant to pupils with lower attainment
- Continua of pedagogic strategies: appropriate
teaching as intensification / more focussed extension of
general teaching approaches
Lesson Study methodology components:
-developing ground rules for working in joint research mode,
• using case pupils (small number of pupils around whom the development
is focussed),
• identifying what to learn and why; the research focus,
• drawing on what has been learned already about this focus,
• joint planning,
• joint observation (data capture)
• analysing and recording of what has been learned from case pupils and
by researchers,
• capturing and distilling practice / data (through using videos, stills and
audios)
• finding ways of helping others to learn from what has been learned
(innovated, refined, modified),
•creating an artefact to communicate this (e.g. powerpoint, video, coaching
guide, etc.) and using it.
What do we know about focus on MLD that is
relevant to Lesson Study developments?
•traditional assumption is that there are weaker
intellectual abilities; reasoning, problem solving,
thinking skills etc.
• one way forward is to adopt a thinking skills scheme
to inform the developments using Lesson Study
• this line pursed in research in other countries:
Dr Pang (Hong Kong University)
Thinking skills (National Curriculum)
1. Information processing
2. Reasoning
3. Enquiry
4. Creative thinking
5. Evaluation
Thinking skills (National Curriculum)
Information processing
•sort and classify
•compare and contrast
•analyse part/whole relationships
Creative Thinking
•generate and extend idea
•suggest hypotheses
•look for alternative, innovative outcomes
Reasoning
•give reasons for opinions and action
•draw inferences and make deductions
•make informed judgements and decisions
Evaluation
•evaluate information
•judge the value of what they read, hear and do
•develop criteria for judging the value of work or ideas
Enquiry
•ask relevant questions
•plan what to do and how to research
•predict outcomes and anticipate consequences
•test conclusions and improve ideas
Teaching strategies:
1. Advance organisers
2. Analogies
3. Audience and purpose
4. Classifying
5. Collective memory
6. Living graphs
7. Mysteries
8. Reading images
9. Relational diagrams
10. Summarising
Leading in Learning
The Strategies
National Curriculum Thinking Skills
Information
Processing
Evaluation
Creative
thinking
Reasoning
Enquiry
1
Advance organisers
2
Analogies
3
Audience and purpose
4
Classifying
5
Collective memory
6
Living graphs and fortune lines
7
Mysteries
8
Reading images
9
Relational diagrams
10
Summarising
The 3-Lesson Model
Planning
Review
1st Lesson
Planning
Observation,
video, meeting,
interviewing
pupils, reading
learning logs
Review
2nd Lesson
Planning
Observation,
video, meeting,
interviewing
pupils, reading
learning logs
Review
3rd Lesson
22
Thinking skills and Lesson Study
in your subject
• What opportunities are there in the lesson
you are focusing on in Lesson Study to
integrate some relevant thinking skills?
• Will this integration of specific thinking skills
in the lesson planning for and teaching of the
Pupil/s with identified MLD help to raise their
and others’ attainment?
23
ARCS model: expectancy – value model
ATTENTION
- perceptual arousal
- inquiry arousal
- variability /novelty
RELEVANCE
- goal orientation
- motive matching
CONFIDENCE
- learning requirements
- success opportunities
- personal responsibility
SATISFACTION
- intrinsic reinforcement
- extrinsic rewards
- equity
Motivation strategies
ARCS model (Keller)
• Design guidelines for developing effective
motivational strategies
• Attention
• Relevance
• Confidence
• Satisfaction
Motivational observation/interviewing
schedule:
Based on areas arising from Motivation Survey based on ARCS (focus on
individual and/or group)
Arousal / attention:
i. Shows initial interest in lesson
ii. Interest retained during lesson
iii. Shows curiosity for aspects of lesson
iv. Retains attention through variety of activities
v. Repetition and practice leads to boredom
vi. Content of lesson too hard /challenging to maintain attention
Relevance
i.
can relate activity / lesson to personal interests/ experiences
ii. understands how activity / lesson relates to learning goals / targets
iii. sees the point / purpose of lesson for longer term personal gaols
Confidence:
i.
shows confidence about doing the activities
ii. believes that s/he can cope with activities
iii. communicates about difficulties / challenges of learning
iv. takes control of learning activities
Satisfaction:
i.
enjoyed activity so much that wants to do more
ii. shows that working at activity is worthwhile
iii. shows pleasure during the activity / lesson
iv. experiences satisfaction when activity completed
Motivation strategies and Lesson Study
in your subject
• What opportunities are there in the lesson
that you are focusing on in Lesson Study to
integrate teaching that promotes motivation
strategies?
• Will the integration of specific motivation
strategies in lesson planning for pupil/s with
identified MLD help to raise their and other
pupils’/students’ motivational attainments?
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