This week we explore the role of intervention teacher. Before covid-19, intervention teachers and teaching assistants would work with ‘underachieving students’ to help them reach their target attainment levels. Intervention teachers achieve this by providing personalised lessons and activities outside of the whole class setting.
Indeed, this will still be the prime responsibility of the intervention teacher; however, the demand is likely to be higher and wider in scope… Schools may feel that most of their students are now ‘underachieving’ or at least in danger of failing to reach their full potential. This is one of the implications of lengthy lockdowns and school closures over the recent months. Consequently, it should be noted that the role may also be referred to as ‘catch up’, ‘boost’ or ‘intervention teacher’ depending on school preferences.
Becoming an intervention teacher could be the perfect opportunity to step in and use your skills to really make a difference. Read on for Prospero Teaching’s top tips for becoming an effective intervention teacher.
Having a close relationship with the class teacher at primary level (or subject lead / head of year at secondary level) will be an important part of the role. This is to ensure you are working as a team and communicating about the progress and challenges each student faces. After school closures and potential changes in staffing this becomes a bigger issue. For instance, it will have been more difficult for schools to keep accurate tracking of pupil progress in this situation and without formal examinations to go by.
Therefore, effective intervention sessions must always be planned specifically for improving the knowledge, skill or exam skill of the pupils you are targeting and should never just be generic revision sessions. Use your student’s last available data and learning checklists to identify where you can help bridge the gaps. As mentioned, speak regularly with other staff members who teach those students.
Also, try to get familiar with whatever form the summative assessment will have for your students at the end of the term / year. Targeting specific exam skills needed in this assessment and reinforcing basic concepts are often easy wins.
Planning Lessons as an Intervention Teacher
Always ensure you are carefully planning your intervention sessions so that learning time is time well spent. Some teachers/departments/schools like to use the same format for each lesson. This can provide a comforting structure for many students but may be too ‘boring’ or restrictive for others. Remember to use what works best for your students. Here is an example of an intervention lesson format:
- Exploring an exam style question based on what was revised in the last lesson.
2. Marking and responding to feedback from the last lesson’s exam question.
3. Introducing Learning objectives for the topic or skill being revised today.
4. Teacher input on top tips, recap or more difficult areas of the topic.
5. Pre-planned revision activities including past questions – for more ideas see below.
6. Independent study time.
7. Plenary and quick quiz.
Ultimately, remember that the aim is to build student confidence and competence in key targeted areas. This includes areas of study that students may have missed completely Students should be so comfortable with skills or content so that in the exam they can answer questions with ease. The key to this is repetition. The key to this is repetition. You must revise content and then test, recap knowledge, learn from mistakes and repeat.
Having Fun Learning!
Intervention session can often become quite tiresome and very stressful for students (and teachers!) Certainly, after the year our students have had they will be very aware they are ‘behind.’ As hardworking and fast-paced as your sessions will need to be, we need to keep sessions fresh and fun. Keep those stress levels down!
Below are some ideas to boost the energy levels of your intervention lessons, avoiding the lecturing or ‘silent revision’ that can lead to over-stressed students getting burnt out.
As much as it may not sound like fun, don’t underestimate the power of a practice mock exam. Even holding a partial mock exam or even tackling a question or two can be beneficial to both intervention teacher and students. Set out the room like the exam hall but do the exam with the students on a large front display showing them how an expert (you!) would breakdown and answer each question. Also, this works at primary level with SATs questions!
Demonstrating this thought process can be very useful for students who are worried about the effect of not sitting exams this year. Some students will take great comfort from knowing how well they can do. Any reference to predicted grades backed up with evidence will settle the nerves of parents too. Most importantly, the results give you lots of information to plan future targeted sessions with.
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed our blog post on the role of an intervention teacher.
Looking for a new intervention teacher role? In need of career support from our training team?
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Behaviour management concerns? Check out our blog 5 behaviour management tips for the return to school.