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Supporting Students in a New School

The experience of moving to a new school can be challenging. This can be particularly the case for students in international circles who may have relocated to a completely new place. This usually means students have to make new friends, get to know their new teachers and adapt to their new environment. Student support can be critical during this challenging process. We’ve put together some ideas to help teachers with their new students and to help them settle in well.

Understand your new student(s)

It’s worth evaluating any new students’ interests and their personality, so you can help them with their confidence and emotional well-being, which is super important. To understand this, you could bring some fun “ice breaker” games into the classroom (games to encourage students to talk about themselves and get to know more about them). This will enable them to lead their learning too.

By understanding your new students’ interests, you can enhance their strengths and minimize their challenges. You can consider their interests in your instruction to help them learn and increase success rates. For instance, if they like nature, then maybe a whole lesson outside would be good, particularly for science. They could also be in pairs to encourage them to get to know others. After, if it’s appropriate, they could share their findings with the class to encourage involvement.

Interacting with parents can also show potential learning barriers, such as language. Plus, if there are challenges, you can talk about what works best to overcome them, which can help with confidence too.

Encourage familiarity by sending home a welcome pack

You could produce a welcome pack or letter to give to new students and their parents. This can include information about yourself such as what your interests are and favorite things to teach. This will help parents and students get to know you. To make sure your new student is well-prepared, you can also include class information and things they need to bring. This could be done pictorially to make sure any language barriers are addressed.

Give students an overview of the school

Once you’ve created a welcome pack or letter, you or a buddy/mentor can show them around the school. You should then explain school expectations as well as any classroom procedures. This could include when lunch or the end of the day is, which you could also include in the pack discussed above.

You could also share information about your student with specialist teachers who will support them, so they know as much as possible.

You could also share information about your student with specialist teachers who will support them, so they know as much as possible.

Promote a caring ethos in your classroom

You could create an ethos of caring, understanding and respect in your classroom, by making students aware that they have a new classmate coming. As well as this, you could make sure they’re partnered up with someone who they can go to. This will help make sure they’re partnered up with someone who they can go to. This partner could be someone who understands their culture and preferred language, particularly if they are from overseas.

When they arrive in school, EducationCity has many Topic Tools which could be used during registration. For instance, the Idea Generator Topic Tool is ideal for telling stories and getting the whole class involved. As well as this, you can use it for talking about feelings, dislikes and likes. Also, a great idea too is a PlayLive game to get them to answer questions as a whole class in a safe, team environment.

Within Study Island, there are a range of Group Sessions which can test where students are at in a fun, timed way. This is anonymous to the class, so the answers cannot be seen. It’s a lot of fun and as you play as a class, it’s a great way to get students involved. It’s also enjoyable, yet valuable for you, because you can add your own questions in, which can make it more personable to students.

Account for language abilities and knowledge

Sometimes, language can present a few barriers. For example, some students will be happy to speak and make mistakes in a language that is not their mother tongue. However, others will not speak until they are happy that they have learnt enough to be confident with it. Difficulties with language can cause social issues within schools. Reviewing this and their ability is important, and can be instrumental in helping any student settle in.

EducationCity’s Learn English module is great for this, and Topic Tools can be customized to support individual students’ needs and interests.

Go over any references that are unfamiliar

Certain curriculums or terms used in school could be unfamiliar for new students. This may take some time to get used to, but it’s worth explaining early so they understand the terms. It’s also worth giving some open-ended questions to encourage students to think for themselves. Also, to encourage them to have the confidence to trust their own thinking and instincts.

For ELL students in particular, EducationCity’s Learn English module covers themes including “My School”, “My Family” and “My Neighbourhood”. The content within these can be accessed within a class or individual setting. This content is also great to support any new students who are learning English, and to help students become more familiar with classroom and school language too.

By adopting these strategies, you can help students become more familiar with school and gain confidence to help them settle in. Any new school can be a daunting move and we understand the challenges students may face.  With some careful planning and preparation, you can support any new student entering your school.

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