Different Types of SEND
There are different types of SEND that Madrassah teachers need to look out for. Madrassah pupils, who may have special educational needs and disability (SEND), may have some of the following characteristics. This page offers some teaching tips for Madrassah teachers on the different types of SEND.
The following can be some of the Types of SEND:
- Struggle to remember verbal instructions.
- Get frustrated easily and have poor self-esteem.
- Find it difficult to stay on task and easily confused
- Often not able to control emotions and difficulty working with others.
- Have poor handwriting skills and can be slow to finish work.
- When setting a task: give verbal and written instructions.
- Provide these pupils with frequent progress checks. Let them know how well they are progressing toward an individual or class goal. “Your reading with vowels has become really good, Masha’Allah,”
- Give immediate feedback to pupils with SEND. They need to see quickly the relationship between what was taught and what was learned.
- Make activities short and engaging.
- If the topic allows, provide objects to help with learning. This is good for stories but not good with topics such as Aqidah.
- Give specific praise. Not just “good” but “your pronunciation of ‘ayn’ has become good, Masha’Allah,”
- Group them into mixed ability groups occasionally so they can learn from each other.
- Some Madrassah pupils may struggle reading black font on white paper. If possible, change the colour of the paper they read from, or get them to use coloured overlays when reading the Qur’an.
- Avoid getting them to read out loud in front of the class if they struggle.
Dyslexia is arguably the most common types of SEND. It is currently estimated that approximately 10% to 15% of students have dyslexia. This means that most Madrassah teachers usually have at least one pupil with dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development, literacy and language related skills. People with dyslexia have difficulty decoding words and may struggle with reading and spelling.
Communication and Interaction
Children with SEND may struggle to express feelings and as a result may have outbursts and display challenging behaviour.
They may engage in repetitive behaviour and have difficulty interacting with other children.
However, some children with autism may be excellent at memorising large portions, (Hifz), of the Qur’an.
- Have patience when teaching and avoid getting frustrated.
- Try to avoid too much noise when these Madrassah pupils are working.
- Use visual aids as much as possible.
- Cartoon comic strip conversations can help autistic children with social understanding and recognising pictures.
- Social stories can be written for autistic pupils which explain what happens in different situations, for example, situations which might make them anxious and explaining how they can cope.
- Drama and role play activities help autistic pupils to develop social skills and better adaab.
Teach Social Skills to all your pupils early on in the form of adaab. Give them fun, engaging tasks in groups thus encouraging working together. A similar technique is used in this video: Create a reward system based on this
Some Madrassah pupils may have difficulty concentrating or display challenging behaviour. This could be due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Children with ADHD may get distracted easily, be hyper active and unpredictable. These children want to learn, but the neurological deficit makes it challenging. Not all children who have difficulty concentrating have ADHD.
- Write out a behaviour plan (ideally with parents) and give to the pupils.
- Give consequences immediately following misbehaviour. Be specific in your explanation, making sure the pupil knows how they misbehaved. “Zaid, I will speak to you at break time, because this is the third time I have asked you to stop talking. Remember we spoke about respect for teachers…”
- Recognize good behaviour out loud. Be specific in your praise, making sure the pupil knows what they did right. “Masha’Allah Zaid, you are working really nicely and quietly today.”
- Write the schedule for the day on the board or on a piece of paper and cross off each item as it is completed. e.g. Islamic Studies, Arabic, Quran (tick off)
- Give them tasks to do where they can move, e.g. hand out worksheets or books.
- Keep activities short and break the lesson into chunks.
English as an Additional Language
You may have pupils in your class who have English as an additional language. Maybe they have recently arrived to the country. These children can struggle with the content if presented in English.
Try to imagine learning a topic in a language you are unfamiliar with. Even if the topic is simple, it will still be difficult because of the language barrier. On this note, it is important to remember that pupils’ fluency in English does not necessarily represent their cognitive ability in other subjects.
Madrassah pupils with EAL may struggle more in Islamic studies as it has more content. This page gives some tips for Madrassah teachers who teach pupils with EAL.
- Ask them to sit in front of you so that they can easily access pictures and texts and where it is easier for you to make regular eye contact with them.
- Explain key vocabulary (including Arabic words) at the start.
- Give pupils a visual glossary of key words if possible and if applicable.
- If possible, seat each EAL pupil next to a reliable pupil who can act as a translator.
- Don’t vary your language too much when repeating instructions
- Give practical demonstrations to them. Use gestures and actions (ensure they’re not offensive in the pupil’s culture!)
- Ask for support if other Madrassah staff can speak the pupil’s first language. Link parents to the member of staff who can speak their language. Find opportunities to use role play and drama.
- Do not over-correct the mistakes of your EAL pupils to avoid demotivation.
- Make use of writing frames (fill in the blanks) if relevant to the topic but only if pupils have had the opportunity to talk through their work prior to the task.
Gifted and Talented
Being gifted and talented can also be a characteristic in the ‘Types of SEND’ being discussed. Every child is gifted and talented in their own way, whether we realise it or not. As Madrassah teachers, we should always aim to identify and nurture these talents and gifts that Allah has blessed each pupil with, to the best of our ability.
Gifted and talented describes children with the ability or potential to develop significantly ahead of their peers:
Gifted learners may have high abilities in one or more academic subjects. Talented learners are those who have practical skills in areas such as sport or design.
- Acceleration – Madrassah pupils can move up to a higher class in the subject they are excelling in.
- Differentiation – creating something to extend the pupil in your class; richer or more challenging tasks to avoid pupils getting bored.
- Set open-ended tasks – to foster a sense of challenge and encourage critical thinking. See ‘Blooms Taxonomy’ and ‘Developing Well Rounded Muslims’ for encouraging higher level thinking.
- Teacher-student matching – matching personalities between the pupil and teacher.
- Mentoring/cross age tutoring – matching younger or older pupils with similar interests/abilities to enhance learning of both.
- Qur’an/Islam competitions – the Sahabi were known to compete with one another in good! Encourage the pupil to take part if they are keen to.
- Nurture their strengths – encourage them to pursue them in a halal manner. Be inspirational.
- Foster enthusiasm – encourage, inspire to improve the skills and attitude of the pupils.
Note: In developing well rounded Muslims, we want to encourage many of our pupils to take part in extra activities and competitions, not just the ones identified as ‘gifted and talented.’
This page discusses physical impairments as one of the types of SEND and how you can help these Madrassah pupils. These needs vary from pupil to pupil and could include temporary or permanent mobility impairments.
Providing support to pupils with mobility impairments is often challenging as Madrassahs need to have appropriate equipment and facilities which they often do not have. Some basic tips are provided below.
- Ensure all pupils with mobility impairments can access the room and the work. The classroom should be on the ground floor or the lift should be working.
- Adjust the work to meet these pupils’ needs if you can.
- Classroom access and movement within the classroom is very important.
- If a pupil has broken an arm or hand, a volunteer could write for the pupil if needed.
Helpguide.org, (2015). Helpguide.org.