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

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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.

An Educational Assistant Course Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Young children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) require special attention in the classroom. To ensure these children get the help they need, it is vital that all newly trained education assistants are given a comprehensive grounding in the best practices for teaching autistic students.

ASD is commonly diagnosed between the ages of two and three years old, affecting one out of every 66 children in Canada. It is much more common in boys than girls, but the severity of the disorder can differ greatly from person to person. Around one third of people with ASD also develop an intellectual disability, so a dedicated skillset is needed to maximize the potential of these children in the classroom.

Read on for some useful insights on ASD that can help the next generation of education assistants to really make a difference in the lives of this often overlooked and underestimated demographic.

Autism can be Caused by Genetic and Non-Genetic Factors

ASD is an umbrella term that includes autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger’s Syndrome. These disorders are categorized across the spectrum, and some present milder symptoms than others.

There is no one root cause of autism, and it is believed to stem from both genetic and non-genetic factors. It takes effect during early brain development by altering how neurons communicate. Parents who have children later in life and extreme premature birth are considered risk factors for the onset of ASD.

The symptoms of ASD include difficulty developing social and communication skills. These boys and girls may avoid making eye contact, repeat words or phrases, and feel more comfortable on their own. Graduates of an education assistant training course will be notified when a child with autism is attending their workplace, because they will require specialized attention in the classroom.

Help children with autism to meet their potential as an education assistant

Help children with autism to meet their potential as an education assistant

Individual Support for ASD Students after Education Assistant Training

Children with ASD may not understand and follow instructions as easily as others, and it is often a good idea to write them out so they can have them at all times. You may also have to address them individually if you are failing to grab their attention, because they may otherwise think they’re not being spoken to. You should also keep language simple when speaking to children with ASD, and avoid using any jargon or sarcasm that they might find confusing.

Technology is a particularly worthwhile asset in this scenario, too. Children can experience difficulties with handwriting, so assess whether it’s possible for them to complete schoolwork on a laptop or tablet instead. Children with ASD may also work better if they are sometimes given a quiet space to finish their assignments.

Consider using a tablet to help children with autism in the classroom

Consider using a tablet to help children with autism in the classroom

Additionally, many young learners on the autism spectrum will often display more interest in specific topics than others, or be far more adept at certain subjects, such as mathematics or science, than they are in other areas. Tailor your teaching to their strengths and weaknesses, and try and find out what their interests are and see if it is possible to work them into their lessons. Overcoming these educational challenges and seeing the child thrive provides a sense of immense satisfaction for professionals, the child, and their parents.

How to Improve the Social Behaviour of Young People with ASD

Another common symptom of children with ASD is an inability to understand the feelings of others. This presents additional challenges for students in education assistant training, so be aware that you also have an important role in developing the social skills of these boys and girls.

This could mean reiterating to them the importance of staying in line in the canteen queue or staying quiet while other children are talking. Children on the spectrum can often feel uneasy in large crowds or noisy environments, too, and may require additional attention in the schoolyard or when walking to and from classes in busy corridors.

KLC’s educational assistant course focuses on developing the necessary ASD teaching skills.

Find out more about our comprehensive 37-week program.

Character Traits That Make You Perfect for Education Assistant Training

educational assistant course

Education is a wonderful line of work which attracts compassionate, organized and friendly staff. It’s sometimes quite a demanding career, but it’s all worth it when you help children to achieve their potential. It’s even more rewarding when you work with children with special educational needs, a challenge which requires a dedicated skillset developed during education assistant courses.

There are a lot of transferrable skills and traits that can be carried over into this career, but first and foremost workers should be comfortable and excited about working with children, especially at an early age. During this crucial stage of their development, education assistants are excellent mentors who get their school years off to a great start.

Here are four ways of knowing whether or not you are suited to this career.

Education Assistants Communicate Effectively with Students and Co-workers

Children learn lots of new information every day, and strong communication skills allow educators to get their message across effectively. Students in education assistant training are comfortable speaking to people of all ages, and also listen carefully to questions or remarks from students or colleagues. Not all people retain these skills, so you can excel in this career if you are a ‘people person’.

Education assistants are part of a much wider team in schools which aim to ensure that students develop their knowledge and personal skills. Effective communication is also vital within this team, so that all educators can work together to overcome potential problems.

Embrace working with children in this educational career

Embrace working with children in this educational career

Take New Tasks in your Stride in this Exciting Career

Working with children can throw up lots of challenges every day, and education assistants must adapt quickly to resolve them. It’s difficult to follow a firm daily schedule of work, and flexibility is required to juggle each task.

This is therefore a career which suits comfortable multi-taskers, whether that means working with more than one child at a time or trying to get some paperwork done during the day. Some people are easily able to switch their focus from one task to another, and if that sounds like you, this could be the perfect career choice.

Show Patience and Compassion When Working with Children

Children are a joy to be around. Their enthusiasm and laughter are infectious and it’s heartwarming when you receive their gratitude. This makes working in education a career which suits friendly and compassionate individuals. It does, of course, throw up many challenges, but this can be overcome by patiently dealing with whatever issues children may experience.

Compassionate individuals are also particularly well-suited to a workplace in which students have special educational needs. These children have the same thirst for knowledge as others, and educational assistant course graduates are enthusiastic about helping them to achieve great results.

Nothing beats the smile on a child’s face after they’ve learned a new skill

Nothing beats the smile on a child’s face after they’ve learned a new skill

Enjoy Hands-on Learning in an Education Assistant Training Course

Some people prefer working with facts and figures in academia or a desk job, but others are much more excited about learning and thriving in a vibrant workplace. Students can experience this exciting environment from a very early stage by enrolling in education assistant programs like the one offered by KLC College.

We offer 600 hours of practical experience during the course, so you can develop your skills in the best way possible. This is a career suited to somebody who embraces challenges and wants to immerse themselves in a new career immediately.

Does an education assistant training course sound like the best career move for you?

Find out more about KLC College’s comprehensive program.