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22/08/2023  •  Blog, Career centre

What skills and qualities make a good SEN teaching assistant?

SEN teaching assistants provide support to students with special educational needs. If you’re wondering what makes a good SEN teaching assistant, we’ve outlined some of the most important skills and qualities to have.

Key SEN teaching assistant skills and qualities

  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Good communication
  • Organisation
  • Understanding of teaching methods
  • Adaptability

1. Compassion

Showing compassion will help to build children’s confidence and self-esteem. Being sensitive to pupils’ challenges and showing empathy can have a significant impact on their motivation and wellbeing. You’ll also need to value and respect diversity, being compassionate and open-minded around every child you work with.

2. Patience

Patience is another key SEN teaching assistant skill. Pupils with special needs may require additional time and support to understand ideas or complete tasks. Being patient will help you as you give your full attention to a child’s specific needs. Every pupil deserves the opportunity to learn and progress in their own time, which means you’ll need to match that pace to help them reach their full potential.

Patience also helps you to establish trust and rapport with pupils as you assist them through whatever challenges they face. You’ll need to patiently listen, wait, and provide an environment of acceptance as they process information or express themselves. Creating a sense of safety and comfort will help both of you to stay positive, promoting a strong relationship and optimal learning for the child.

3. Good communication

Effective communication is essential in supporting children with their academic development. It helps children to feel confident in their learning, fostering their sense of independence and their decision-making skills. Helping pupils to feel valued through the feedback you give to them will also mean they’ll be more encouraged to take risks, ask questions, and engage in the learning process.

Having good communication skills is also essential for collaborating with teachers, parents, guardians, carers, and other professionals involved in pupils’ education. Strong verbal and written skills will enable you to share important information, provide observations, and work effectively with the broader support team.

Browse our SEN job vacancies

At Liquid, we have a wide range of SEN jobs available. Browse our vacancies and apply today.

4. Organisation

SEN teaching assistants often work with multiple pupils, each with different challenges and requirements, so it’s important to be organised. You’ll also perform important administrative duties outside of the classroom, such as putting progress reports together and helping to design curriculums. As well as keeping paperwork, filing systems and other offline records in order, it will help to be able to use digital organisation tools. These might include project management platforms, productivity and time-management software, and spreadsheets.

Being organised and skilled in time management will help you ensure that all tasks, paperwork, and pupil support plans are properly managed. This means you can maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the support you give to each child.

5. Understanding of teaching methods

Of course, SEN teaching assistant skills should be grounded in a solid understanding of special education principles and practices. This includes knowledge of common learning disabilities, developmental disorders, and strategies for supporting pupils with special needs. You’ll need to regularly update your knowledge and stay informed about the latest research and evidence-based techniques.

You’ll have to know about the different teaching styles used within primary and secondary schools, as well as in further education. This will help you to get the best out of pupils and help them progress at each stage of their education.

6. Adaptability

Special needs pupils have a diverse range of requirements. What makes a good SEN teaching assistant great is being able to adapt methods, strategies, and materials to accommodate children’s individual challenges. Flexibility and a willingness to modify your approaches will help ensure that each pupil’s learning needs are met.

It is also crucial to be able to respond to different styles of teaching, in order to help children with subject matters from various teachers, in different lessons. You may work with pupils of different ages and abilities across your career, so you’ll need to be comfortable with tailoring your working methods to a range of personalities, capabilities and stages of life.

Discover SEN teaching assistant jobs with Liquid

At Liquid, we have a wide range of roles for SEN teaching assistants available. 

When registering with us, we’ll match you with a consultant who has experience in your sector. They’ll dedicate themselves to understanding your goals and championing your unique skillset, so that you can take your career in the exact direction you’re hoping for. 

Get in touch today to speak to one of our friendly team and take a look at the SEN teaching assistant jobs we currently have available. 

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