Implementing interventions can help to build a child’s self-worth, as well as their academic understanding. Children may be less willing participants in the learning process in the larger classroom environment. Still, when targeted support takes place in a nurturing, safe environment, it can positively contribute to students’ overall well-being and improve measured skills in literacy and numeracy.
Intervention is always an opportunity to engage on a personal level and should not ever be confused by children as some kind of punishment. It’s an experience that gives the teacher the richest chance to connect with an individual child, make the learning experience useful, memorable, and fun, and deepen the trust in that relationship. It is why the timing of interventions is essential. What is the benefit of scheduling an intervention when a child may loathe being taken out of a topic or a subject they love – one where they show talent and express enjoyment – to make progress in a subject they find challenging?
Staying focused on the fact that every child is unique will help staff personalise the areas of need, recognising where children can develop different skills and talents through other interests. The benefits of tapping into what will spark their interest and keep them motivated are bountiful.
Intervention is inextricably linked to measurement – primarily academic – but don’t be blindsided by having just that narrow aim; it’s not at all true to state that if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. There’s so much more to be gained from this valuable time where an individual child not only benefits from the most personal metacognitive mentoring. For example, helping them think more explicitly about their learning and where some social and emotional support gives them a safe and more intimate space to explore their thoughts and feelings.
Look at this brilliant resource, developed by the Education Endowment Fund. You can see that engaging children in metacognition, and thinking about thinking, is one of the most cost-effective and time-effective ways to impact children’s outcomes through intervention. Teaching and Learning Toolkit (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk)
Whilst it can be used as a time to divide and conquer, allowing a teacher to zone in on a majority, when an individual student requiring additional support is removed, it does not help if this is seen in isolation – by a teacher, support assistant or the child. Children may misinterpret what they see as some inferred agenda, and the support has to be carefully structured and planned with the child at the heart of it. With this honourable intent in mind, even a ten-minute intervention can be impactful!
It should be made evident where the support links to more expansive learning so that children can see the connections between key concepts and subject areas. Relating the task or content to issues that affect them and their world ensures that they can make meaning; children themselves gain confidence when they return to the class. Interventions can offer teachers and individual children the chance to engage in deeper learning together, especially with advanced digital technologies; they can partner with each other in unique and transparent learning processes and not just reinforce the mechanics of a procedure. It is possible to shift from sage on the stage or guide from the side strategies so that the focus becomes mastering the learning process, connecting it to the world together. They can use the power of digital tools to do things that matter beyond school. Through this crucial step of ‘doing’ something with the knowledge that children can gain the experience, self-confidence, perseverance, and proactive disposition, they need to appreciate the value of these interventions.
Are you looking for intervention support?
If you are looking for resources and guidance to deliver effective interventions in your primary school, why not explore LifeWise PSHE?
We offer hundreds of unique plug and play aids for teachers, covering the diverse, often challenging subject matter that is required for school interventions. Get in touch with the team today or if you prefer to explore alone, you can try all our resources for free here
About the Author
Julie continues to build on her relentless quest for innovative and impactful pedagogy and is motivated by growing knowledge of neuroscience and its impact on ways of learning. After 30 years in both the UK and schools around the globe, supporting inclusive, diverse learners and mentoring PGCE student teachers as a Headteacher, advisor and consultant, we’re absolutely thrilled to have Julie onboard.
She wholeheartedly supports the LifeWise mission to positively prepare children for life. Julie has been involved in opening trauma informed schools, classroom design and creating communication friendly spaces, growing student numbers, raising attainment. She is also a published author but ask her what her greatest accomplishments include and she’ll tell you the success of students thirty years down the line!
It’s a very different world since the dramatic life-altering sweep of the last few years. But even before the global transformation brought on by the pandemic, it was very different from the world I experienced as a pupil.
I have been so privileged to work with children; I have learned so much from them. I am still privileged and still learning…or perhaps, in these enlightened days,
From my early days of teaching, it’s been a struggle to switch off entirely from the responsibilities of the job, even when there’s an opportunity for some much-appreciated downtime.