How to Connect with Special Education Students After Education Assistant Training

educational assistant classes

Within any classroom there is a diversity of learning styles, a range of needs, and various challenges. Education assistants, who work with special education students, or students who have behaviour management needs, take on the responsibility of adapting environments for their students. One of the most important aspects to succeeding in a classroom is establishing genuine connections.

In order to help students reach their full potential, it is necessary to get to know them well. Being able to recognize students’ strengths will provide you with more options for helping to keep them engaged and excited.

Here are a few points to keep in mind as you navigate your role in students’ educational experiences.

If You Believe in Their Success, They Will Too

It may be the case that students you assist will have the idea, whether consciously or not, that success at school is not possible for them. Traditional markers of academic success may cause special education students to feel inadequate, insecure, or as if no one expects much from them. Part of education assistant training involves in-school experience, where you may even witness these feelings first-hand. Fortunately, as an education assistant, you’ll be well equipped to help students realize just how much potential they have, and help them see that they really do have so much to offer.

Education assistants enter a classroom looking for students’ strengths

Education assistants enter a classroom looking for students’ strengths

One strategy that can be used to address negative feelings is positive reinforcement. For example, you want to make sure your students know when they do well and provide more learning experiences that foster those successes. If you notice that a student loves to draw, give them a chance to visually respond to a lesson. This validates their learning style and recognizes neurodiversity as a strength of differences rather than a deficit. Figuring this out for students may mean reflecting on your positive experiences in educational assistant classes because being able to recognize where you felt success will help you see it in others as well.

Provide a Culturally Sensitive Environment

Another aspect of knowing your student and nurturing their potential is recognizing their life experiences outside of the classroom. Acknowledging their cultural background, languages they may speak at home, and what their lives are like is just as important as being familiar with their cognitive and physical abilities.

Consider ways to adjust lesson plans or activities to reflect your familiarity and respect for who your students are. This may also extend to their general interests. For example if they love music, consider incorporating songs or lyrics into activities.

Become an Education Assistant Known for Their Creativity

Paying attention to what excites students will give you ideas for ways to keep them engaged in the classroom. The myriad of differences you may experience when you become an education assistant will quickly add up. One practical strategy that will leave space for your creativity to flourish is to record individual preferences, needs, and strengths of your students.

Educational assistants’ creativity will spark confidence in their students

Educational assistants’ creativity will spark confidence in their students

Once you have a clear idea of who your students are, the ways to connect with them will become easier to grasp and organize. For example, a student may respond well to routine. Knowing this, you might set up a daily prompt for them to express their feelings each afternoon. Something like that would help you create an environment where students feel comfortable and able to thrive.

Are you interested in pursuing a career as an education assistant?

Learn more about the educational assistant training available at KLC!

3 Interview Questions to Expect if You Want to Become an Educational Assistant

become an educational assistant

Are you a caring, patient, and positive individual who enjoys working with children? Do you have good communication and organizational skills? And more importantly, do you want to make a difference in a workplace that is fulfilling? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then a career as an educational assistant might be right for you.

Once you complete your training as an educational assistant and begin looking for a position, you will interview with administrators and hiring personnel from different schools and institutions. Hiring managers usually look for specific qualities in the candidates that they select. Check out the kind of questions to expect and how you can prepare for your next interview!

1. Why Did You Choose to Become an Educational Assistant?

One thing that interviewers will almost certainly want to know is what your motives are. A good way to prepare to answer a question like this is to ask yourself how your motivations align with what are likely to be the school’s goals (which will hopefully be to provide a high quality education). For example, you may believe children should have people around them who are truly dedicated to helping them reach their full potential. Or maybe you decided to become an educational assistant because you believe that a strong education system is central to the development of a well prepared generation of students. Whatever your beliefs may be, it is important that you are able to communicate them clearly and genuinely.

2. How Will You Contribute to Life in The Classroom as an Educational Assistant?

The role of an educational assistant is to provide the teacher with the support they require to make sure that the classroom is the best learning environment that it can be. Essentially, the educational assistant becomes an extension of the teacher, allowing for more individual support to be provided to each student.

The educational assistant helps provide children with more individual support

The educational assistant helps provide children with more individual support

So, if you should be asked about the ways that you can contribute to life in the classroom after education assistant training, you can explain that your responsibility will be to ensure that each child is treated as an individual and receives the attention that they need. You can also address the fact that you will be responsible for helping the teacher maintain a positive learning climate in their classroom. You must be sure that you are aware of what contributions you can make to create an optimal learning environment, which you can learn about in your education assistant courses.

3. What Would You Do if You Disagreed with a Teacher’s Methods?

Some interview questions might be more difficult. This is one that might catch you off-guard and for which you should be prepared. It is only normal that throughout the course of your career, you’ll occasionally disagree with a teacher. If that should happen, there are positive and constructive ways that you can deal with the situation. One thing that you should always keep in mind is that you must respect the teacher’s authority and experience. Another thing that you will want to remember is that most teachers are also life-long learners. So, you can tell the hiring manager how you would respectfully explain your point of view to the teacher. By doing so in a polite matter you might be able to learn from one another and offer students the best quality of education that you can.

You may be asked how you would handle disagreements with a teacher

You may be asked how you would handle disagreements with a teacher

Do you want to learn the job through educational assistant classes?

Call KLC College and get more information about our programs!

How to Stay Calm at Work After Education Assistant Training

educational assistant courseWhen you work with children as an education assistant, your days are never boring. Children, of course, can experience a wide range of emotions and they’re often not afraid to express them. As an education assistant, you’ll need to learn how to keep calm even when you may be surrounded by children who are anything but.

Stay calm and collected is not only good for your own mental health, but it also helps the children you work with understand the value of positivity. There are a number of strategies you can use to make sure the day goes smoothly. Here are some ways you can stay calm on the job after becoming an education assistant.

Get to Work Early, and Take Deep Breaths Before Class Starts

The period when you arrive at work but the school day hasn’t yet begun is ideal for finding a moment to practice some strategies and exercises for keeping calm. For example, you can sit down at a desk or other comfortable spot and perform breathing exercises, perhaps while listening to calming music. You can even practice mindfulness or meditation to help you stay calm and positive. However you choose to relax, do something at the beginning of the day so that you feel better prepared for whatever challenges may arise later on. That way you can approach the rest of the day with a sense of calmness and focus.

Be sure to take deep breaths before class, and practice meditation or mindfulness

Be sure to take deep breaths before class, and practice meditation or mindfulness

To Become an Educational Assistant, Have a Plan of Action with Students

If you love working with children, you’ll understand that every child is different and has their own distinct behavioural traits, learning styles, and challenges. In fact, taking an individualistic approach to each child is something you’ll learn the importance of in your training to become an educational assistant. Therefore, if for any reason students are disruptive or act out, make sure you work with the teacher to have a plan for how you’re going to manage the situation, and subscribe to it from that point onward. By planning beforehand you will feel like you’re in control of the situation when students do become emotional or disruptive.

Stay Positive Around Children and They’ll Stay Positive in Turn

In your education assistant training, you’ll learn how to use your communication skills effectively with children and how best to meet their individual needs. Speak in a friendly, relaxed tone at all times with students, and encourage them to succeed. Remaining positive tends to rub off on children and can be a subtle way of encouraging them to stay positive too. If they don’t immediately respond in kind to your calm demeanour, try not to become angry or emotional. Simply stay positive and talk to the children in a calm and soothing voice. By maintaining a positive attitude, eventually your rapport with the children will improve. Keep with your plan to remain measured at all times, and remember that this can sometimes be a marathon, not a race.

Staying positive around children can improve your rapport with them

Staying positive around children can improve your rapport with them

Do you want to take an educational assistant course?

Contact KLC College to find out more!

Want to Become an Educational Assistant? 3 Things to Know About Learning Styles

educational assistant classes

Educational Assistants strive to treat each student individually, taking into account their specific needs and how they learn. When working with a group of diverse minds, various learning styles and ways of thinking are present. Common styles are visual (through pictures, images and spatial understanding), auditory (music and sound), kinesthetic (through the hands, body and sense of touch), and linguistic (spoken and written words).

Adapting to learning styles is a great way to make a difference in a student’s life, helping to give them a more rewarding educational experience. It’s also a great way to understand different behaviours and why they may be surfacing, sometimes as a result of not feeling engaged enough by teaching methods. Read on for a few helpful things to know about learning styles, if you are looking at a career as an educational assistant.

Individual Styles to Apply Learning Theory from Educational Assistant Classes

A common misconception is that each person falls under one learning style. On the contrary, children will often respond strongly to a few types of learning, sometimes with a combination of styles working best. As you’ll learn in educational assistant classes, it’s important to meet the individual needs of each student.

You can give students extra assistance that is in line with their learning styles

You can give students extra assistance that is in line with their learning styles

If basic instruction is structured in a way that resonates with most or all students, then individual help can be more tailored to each student’s best way of learning. For example, the teacher you assist may use music to teach a small group, then follow this up with visual instruction for a child who gravitates heavily towards images. This personalizes learning and shows empathy and understanding for each individual on their journey.

Thinking Style will Matter too When you Become an Educational Assistant

Thinking style differs from learning style, but the two go hand in hand when catering class material to a student. The difference is that learning style is how a child receives information best, while thinking style is how they process information best. It can affect how much time they need after a lesson to process, as well as the appropriate pacing that the instructor you work with will use.

Linear thinkers need structure and a sequenced format when they process new information. These children need the first step to be completed before they can move on to the second step. They prefer that things are consistent and predictable, meaning that weaving this into your teaching assistance, while keeping your pacing moderate or slow, will keep them from feeling lost or frustrated.

Global thinkers aren’t as patient with a step by step format. They want all of the information available right away, so that they can see the whole picture. Children who want an entire lesson at once and seem to get antsy waiting between steps will want information faster, with a big picture given before review.

A Growth Mindset Prevents Children From Getting Boxed in

It’s important to maintain a growth mindset when you become an educational assistant. A child may excel with one particular learning style, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t excel in a different learning style a year from now. You may assist a teacher who uses kinesthetic strategies with a student who’s very physical and responds to learning through their five senses. At the same time, this student could be challenged to learn through auditory tools and build their skills with learning through sound.

It’s important to give students room for growth with their less preferred learning styles

It’s important to give students room for growth with their less preferred learning styles

You may be asked to encourage these developments by blending different learning styles when you assist students. Let them learn through combining what they are great at with something they find challenging, making it less intimidating and confusing for the child as you help them.

Are you interested in an education assistant training course?

Contact KCL College for more information.

4 Ways Education Assistant Training Can Help You Keep a Classroom Organized

become an educational assistant

Working in special education means providing a supportive classroom, and that includes organization. Organization is more than making sure paper and pens are put away and everything is in order before the next day – it can also help prepare you to meet the individual learning needs of your students and provide a more structured classroom environment.

Whether you want to provide students with visual aids or reduce potential distractions, there are a variety of organizational methods you and your fellow educators can use to help your students learn and participate in and around the classroom.

If you’re interested in starting a career as an educational assistant, read on to find out how your training can help you and your classroom become more organized.

1. Positive Student Behaviour Support Begins with Good Organization

Supporting positive behaviour in the classroom is an important part of your work when you become an educational assistant. Although there may be days when positive behaviour seems to be the last thing on your students’ minds, staying organized can actually help you keep your class on the right track.

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have trouble understanding how they are expected to act in the classroom. An organized room with physically defined spaces can help them better separate each setting, and even anticipate what a certain activity in that space means. Encouraging a deeper understanding of the current activity or lesson can cultivate a more positive response in students as they learn how to interact with and prepare for the context of each separate space.

2. Organization in the Classroom Can Reduce Student Distractibility

Many special education learners can be easily distracted. Educational assistant training emphasizes the important role that behaviour management plays in the special education classroom, and that includes reducing any auditory or visual distractions.

Educational assistants can use organization to minimize distractions in class

Educational assistants can use organization to minimize distractions in class

General clutter and even walls crowded end to end with posters or information can be a distraction to students with ASD because all of the unorganized elements are competing at once for their attention. Reducing excessive visual input can help minimize the stimulus students receive from their classroom environment, so it’s a good idea to only include the most relevant visual materials on the walls or desks, and put all the extra materials or supplies neatly away out of sight.

3. Educational Assistant Training Can Help You Organize Individual Learning Styles

Individualized learning is a core element of your educational assistant program and your classroom. Children with special needs often learn in very different styles, and organization can help you ensure they are learning in the best way possible.

Students at KLC can use organization to support individual learning styles

Students at KLC can use organization to support individual learning styles

Organization in the classroom can be as simple as labelling items with words and even pictures. Labelling each student’s materials, assigned seat, or personal items can help them tell which objects are theirs, and encourage them to have a more independent perspective of these items, as well as how they relate to themselves as individuals. “David’s chair,” for example, tells everyone in the room – David included – that this is his personal space to use during class.

4. Use Your Educational Assistant Training to Provide Visual Organization

Special education learners often rely on visual cues to better understand their classroom environment, and it’s important to make sure everything is organized in a way that provides plenty visual support.

If you choose to label areas of the classroom, you can also include pictures to help students understand where things are supposed to go as well as what they look like. This kind of visual cue gives them easily-accessible information that helps make abstract concepts more concrete. Visual aids such as a schedule or first-then board can provide students with a sense of structure, and encourages them to follow multi-step directions in order to achieve something they want.

Are you interested in starting a rewarding career in the classroom?

Contact KLC College for more information about our educational assistant course.

Interested in Education Assistant Training? Here’s What You Should Know About Positive Behaviour Supports

education assistant training

Education assistants support teachers in the classroom by understanding students’ behavioural characteristics, assisting in developing individualized student programs, and much more. To help them accomplish important tasks like these, education assistants help carry out behavioural interventions for students who exhibit problem behaviours or who are struggling academically.

One type of behavioural intervention that’s frequently used in schools is called positive behaviour support (PBS), which is designed to promote good behaviour in students. Because PBS is so widespread in education, it is important for education assistants to understand the theory behind it and how it is applied in the classroom.

Positive Behaviour Support Helps Encourage Good Behaviour in Children

PBS is a type of behaviour management system that is widely used by schools as a way of reducing problem behaviour and encouraging good behaviour in students. According to non-profit research organization Child Trends, problem behaviour can include externalized behaviours like “aggression, disruptive behaviour, and oppositional defiance” and internalized behaviours like “withdrawal, anxiety, or depression.” PBS is based on the assumption that problem behaviour occurs because something in the student’s environment rewards or encourages such behaviour. PBS focuses on identifying the root cause of problem behaviour and developing a plan to discourage it while also encouraging alternative, positive behaviours.

Schools utilize PBS using a three-tiered model: at the primary level the focus is on school-wide interventions, such as encouraging all students to walk rather than run in the hallways. The secondary level focuses on groups of students who are at risk of behavioural problems and who require short-term interventions. Lastly, the tertiary level focuses on interventions for individuals who have a persistent pattern of behavioural problems and require individualized attention. Tertiary level PBS typically applies to just 1-5% of the student body for whom primary and secondary level interventions are ineffective. For students who require tertiary intervention, an individualized behaviour plan is developed and implemented.

Tertiary level PBS focuses on individualized behavioural intervention strategies

Tertiary level PBS focuses on individualized behavioural intervention strategies

Educational Assistants with PBS Training Work to Identify the Root Causes of Problem Behaviour

If a child exhibits problem behaviour, PBS encourages first identifying if that student is being inadvertently rewarded for behaving badly. For example, many young children act out because they know that they will get attention by doing so. As a result, yelling at a child who is exhibiting such behaviour actually ends up rewarding them since the “punishment” draws more attention.

By utilizing the PBS strategies you learn during education assistant training, you can identify why a child is behaving poorly and what the best response to the behaviour may be. While PBS does allow for consequences for problem behaviour, such as through requiring the student to complete unfinished homework during recess, such consequences are not the final goal. Rather, PBS is focused on replacing problem behaviours with positive behaviours.

Education Assistant Training Will Show You How PBS is Applied in Schools

If you become an education assistant you will not only learn about PBS during the theory component of your training, you will also see it put into action during your career. That’s because PBS is used in most schools in one form or another. For instance, receiving a sticker or gold star for doing well on an assignment is an example of a primary level intervention that is applied at many schools.

In your education assistant career, you can also use PBS to replace problem behaviours with positive ones in individual students. For example, if a child is looking for attention, you may want to speak quietly to that child and calmly explain why their behaviour is inappropriate. Talking calmly removes the reward (i.e., getting more attention) that the child is seeking. With the reward removed, you can then ask them to complete the assignment. When the student completes the assignment, he or she can then be rewarded for doing so by being praised in front of the class. Praise satisfies the child’s desire for attention, but in a way that encourages him or her to seek that attention through positive behaviours.

At KLC College, our education assistant courses cover positive behaviour support

At KLC College, our education assistant courses cover positive behaviour support

Are you interested in pursuing a new career?

Contact KLC College to learn more about our education assistant school.