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Practitioner Workshops 1

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Friday, 28 February – 11:00-12:00

The following workshops are in alphabetical order by workshop title:

A practical approach to social skills development: Aditi Chakravarti and Femke Okkerse

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] An introduction of the development of social skills ages 0-12. Per age group (4-6 and 6-12) we will discuss the main skills the children are required to develop during these developmental stages. Plus, we will provide the educators and professionals with group activities that focus on developing the main social skills that are age appropriate for that age group. Our workshop will focus on content/theory of social skills and focus on learning effective activities that can be done in smaller and bigger groups to enhance the social skills development of children ages 4-12.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Aditi Chakravarti and Femke Okkerse’s Bios”]Aditi ChakravartiAditi Chakravarti has been a speech-language therapist for over 8 years, and has been with Brain Train (The Essential Learning Group) for over 3 years. She has worked in a variety of clinical and educational settings across India, New Zealand and Singapore, providing support to clients (preschoolers/school-age children/young adults) with mild to severe disorders of communication (articulation, voice, fluency, language). She has gained significant experience in dealing with childhood language disorders while working in early childhood centers and schools across Auckland for the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. With her background in Audiology, Aditi has also aquired specific experience managing disorders of hearing and auditory processing. Aditi has a Masaters’ degree in Audiology and Speech Pathology from the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, and is accredited to practice in New Zealand by the New Zealand Speech Therapists’ Association (NZSTA). She is also an accredited member of the Indian Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ISHA), and a member of the Singapore Speech and Hearing Association (SHAS).
Femke OkkerseFemke Okkerse graduated from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands with a Master’s degree in Education and Behavioral Development in 2007. She gained experience working as a School Psychologist in various primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands. Femke specializes in providing support on various academic problems to children as well as to teachers. Femke is Director of Program Development in ELG’s Singapore office, responsible for developing the Innovative Learning Center and introducing new programs. She joined ELG in 2010, and has developed and taught the successful Early Intervention Program, “The Sprouts”, at Creative Garden (now Innovative Learning Center). She worked as a School Psychologist and Team Leader for a variety of individual children and programs. She supported the development of several group programs in the Learning Annex and has provided individual academic support on various subjects in the clinic setting.[/learn_more]

Developing cultural awareness and navigating assumptions: Ian Moody

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] In working with students and families who have diverse needs, our approach requires an understanding of not only cultural issues but also the asumptions we and they make in our communication. This workshop aims to develop an awareness of the impact of cultural differences and provide strategies that will help challenge the assumptions we make when attempting to bring about change when counselling students and/or families.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Ian Moody’s Bio”] Ian photoIan has taught in a variety of schools for more than 30 years, including the past 18 years in International schools. He has been a school counsellor for 16 years, having obtained his Masters Degree in Educational Counselling in Nebraska, USA. He is currently the Head of Counselling at UWCSEA Dover, Singapore. Ian has previously taught Mathematics, Physics and English as a Second Language as well as managed a state wide curriculum department responsible for career and vocational education.  [/learn_more]

Digital approaches for assessment and record keeping in special needs and learning support: Andrew McCarthy

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] This workshop will look at a variety of tools that can be used to collect evidence of students learning needs. This can include the use of images, video, notes and checklist. We will explore several apps available on most mobile devices for collecting evidence and then look at tools such as DropBox, Google Drive and Evernote for keeping track of information in a logical manner and in ways that facilitate some collaboration with peers. If you have an iPad or laptop, please bring this along, but we will provide a set of iPads for demonstration purposes.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Andrew McCarthy’s Bio”] The presenter Andrew McCarthy, is a Digital Literacy Coach at UWCSEA. He works with teachers on a daily basis to support student learning and helps teachers use technology in the most efficient way to save time and be more effective. He is also a teacher of IB Economics, and has taught in both New Zealand and Singapore. Twitter – ajmccarthynz@gmail.com Website – http://ajmccarthynz.wordpress.com/[/learn_more]

Engaging mathematics: Tilson Crew

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”]If done correctly, cooperative learning can be a very effective strategy for differentiation in Mathematics. There are several kinds of cooperative learning structures that support all learners. These structures hold students accountable for gathering, learning and sharing the information they have learned. Join us to explore cooperative learning structures that can be applied immediately.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Tilson Crew’s Bio”]Tilson Crew began her career in education in 1989.  Specializing in Grades K-8, she has worked in private schools, parochial schools, military schools and public schools in Germany, The United States, and Singapore.  After several years as a classroom teacher, she earned her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and focused on research surrounding improving instructional practice and content knowledge in the area of Mathematics. Currently, Tilson holds the position of Mathematics Coach at UWCSEA East.[/learn_more]

Learning how to learn – identifying and enabling students with executive functioning difficulties in the school environment: Niamh Donnelly and Elly Gilbert

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] In this workshop, Occupational Therapist, Niamh Donnelly and Speech and Language Pathologist, Elly Gilbert, will explore the link between executive functioning difficulties and language, social skills, and activities of daily living. Using real life case studies of children as examples, Niamh and Elly will illustrate the impact of these challenges on social and academic success in the classroom, and provide practical strategies for enabling these children in their everyday school life.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Niamh Donnelly and Elly Gilbert’s Bios”] Elly Gilbert - SLPElly Gilbert and Niamh Donnelly are clinicians from Total Communication Therapy in Singapore. Elly is a Speech & Language Pathologist from the UK, graduating with a Masters in Medical Science from the University of Sheffield. At Total Communication Therapy, Elly currently works with children from the age of 2 to 16 years with a range of speech, language and communication needs, including those with Specific Language Impairment, ASD and verbal dyspraxia. Niamh Donnelly is an Occupational Therapist from Ireland, graduating from the University of Ulster in Jordanstown. Niamh Donnelly - OTNiamh works with children and adolescents with a range of difficulties, including ASD, ADHD, motor dyspraxia, sensory processing, and feeding disorders. Elly and Niamh work closely with learning support staff and teachers in a number of local and international schools in Singapore, to ensure that all the needs of the child are taken into consideration.[/learn_more]

Maths word problems in Singapore at the primary stage: is there a “magic bullet”?: Aishah Abdullah and Dr Tim Bunn

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] Singapore Maths places a very strong emphasis on solving word problems (WP) from an early stage in the primary curriculum. The Dyslexia Association of Singapore teaches dyslexic children with additional difficulties in maths through a growing small class programme. The workshop asks, “can we focus our efforts to help children with WP on one particular aspect of learning, and so help children progress more efficiently?” We review some of the possible areas, and then invite participants to try some primary level WPs themselves. We then offer a very short introduction to Singapore’s bar modelling techniques for teaching WP. Finally we hope to involve the audience in sharing their own experiences and views on whether there is a magic bullet, and where it can be found. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Aishah Abdullah and Tim Bunn’s Bios”] Mdm Aishah Abdullah is an experienced teacher in Singapore mainstream schools and an Educational Therapist with DAS who has taught on the DAS Maths programme from its inception. Dr Tim Bunn: an educational psychologist who has recently specialized in assessing children with maths difficulties in Singapore, and who is now Senior Research Officer for the DAS and has and will be conducting research on children with maths difficulties related to the DAS teaching programme and especially word problems.[/learn_more]

Setting the stage for success: executive functioning strategies for school & home: John Richard Koncki

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] As parents and teachers, let’s use objective and tangible tools to guide our children and students efficiently and effectively. The Setting the Stage for Success (3S) protocols help us stay relatively unemotional as we give kids structure and time to “own” the responsibility through consistency in the purposeful management of their (scholastic, extracurricular) lives. The 3S workbook is filled with many helpful templates and tips as well as being organized into a functional yearlong planner. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”John Richard Koncki’s Bio”] John Koncki is the Strategic Learning Coach at the Singapore American School and father of three dynamic teenagers. He has a Master’s Degree in Education from The Claremont Graduate University and has worked in US and International Schools for over twenty years.[/learn_more]

Skill-screening of first graders: Edeltraud Gross-Baetz and Sandra Scheiner-Meise

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] Children acquire sensory skills, motor skills and phonemic awareness at different speeds. At the German School Shanghai there is a support system for all these areas in place. To determine the support that each student needs we have developed a screening system, that allows us to identify areas of need for each student in a very time efficient way. In this seminar we will explain and demonstrate this process.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Edeltraud Gross-Baetz and Sandra Scheiner-Meise’s Bios”] Edeltraud Gross-Baetz, German, Co-ordinator for Special Needs at German School Shanghai, Special Needs-Teacher since 2009 at German School, Shanghai. Specializes in: diagnosis, dyscalculia, ADS/ADHS, psychomotoric therapy, coaching, reading. Sandra Scheiner-Meise, German, Special Needs Teacher at German School Shanghai since 2012. Learning and behavior disorder[/learn_more]

The impact of attachment on behaviour and learning: Dr Louise McCauley

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] Attachment Theory (Bowlby, 1969) is concerned with the relationships between humans. One of the theory’s most significant strands is the importance of the relationship between infants and their primary caregivers. These relationships prepare the foundation for social and emotional development; guide how children see the world, other people, and themselves; and serve as templates for future relationships, including their relationships with teachers and peers. Children who receive consistently warm, sensitive, and responsive care from a primary caregiver develop internal working models of other people who are there for them, and they see themselves as capable of eliciting whatever they need from their environment. They tend to have a positive view of life, know how to manage and express their feelings (Honig, 2002; Karen 1998), and possess good social skills, many friends, and high self-esteem. Additionally, they are also good problem solvers who can ask for help when they need it, so they tend do well in school (Howes and Ritchie, 2002). Not being afraid to try new things and make mistakes is the basis of a positive learning experience. Children who have developed the capacity to cope with uncertainty and so to experience the unknown and to explore what they do not know – the basis of learning – will cope well in an academic environment. In order to learn, you have to tolerate not knowing. Children who have insecure attachments, on the other hand, may have experienced a different kind of care from their primary caregivers as well as a higher level of contextual insecurity. In longitudinal studies, L. Alan Sroufe and his colleagues (1983; Weinfeld et al., 1999) found that poorly attached children were angry, anxious, impulsive, and easily frustrated; and their low self-esteem made them an easy target for bullying. They often focus on the teacher, creating conflict in order to keep his or her attention (Howes and Ritchie, 2002; Karen, 1998). In school it is the teacher who is at the front line of pupil behaviour. It is the teacher who encounters the factors behind the disappointing outcomes daily. Teachers are exposed to this stressful experience daily – adding to classroom tensions and challenges. Behind every child who misbehaves and underperforms in school there is a story, and the story is acted out in the classroom. For some it is a temporary glitch in their lives from which they quickly recover; others need support and intervention An understanding of Attachment Theory and learning may help teachers to gain insight into the International School pupil and see their lives and experiences differently. We are not saying that these children have attachment disorders, or are insecurely attached, but rather we are using the theoretical underpinnings of Attachment Theory to better understand how their life experiences to date may mould their learning and ability to cope in the International school classroom. The majority of these pupils are extremely resilient and cope extraordinarily well with change, upheaval, starting new schools (sometimes on a two yearly basis), and making new friends. They manage to excel in their new environments and no concerns are ever raised regarding their well being. However, there are a handful of pupils who do not cope so well. These are the pupils that may need a higher level of nurture, personal time and personalised support. The contribution that an understanding of attachment theory can make to schools and learning outcomes is considerable. The understanding of school staff and the informed processes and procedures of the school can contribute considerably to a safer and more attuned environment in which the school can act as a secure base where children can develop trusting relationships with teachers and their peers, which will support the development of positive and successful learning. The more vulnerable pupils can begin to re-experience more positive and hopeful relationships, greater emotional wellbeing and begin to engage more successfully in learning. Successful engagement in school and learning is the access point to later engagement in the social world of work and community.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Dr Louise McCauley’s Bio”] Dr Louise McCauley is a Consulting Educational Psychologist who has been practising in Singapore for just over 2 years. Prior to this Dr McCauley lived and worked in the UK for 10 years, where she completed her professional training Doctorate in Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychology through the Institute of Education, University of London. Dr McCauley previously played a pivotal role as part of a multi-professional diagnostic team in the UK, working with children on the Autism Spectrum, children with ADHD as well as children with other complex developmental disorders. Since being in Singapore Dr McCauley has been working towards developing a similar style of professional practice in order to support families with children in Singapore and South East Asia to be diagnosed appropriately through the adoption of an holistic, ecosystemic approach, where the child, their interactions in all contexts and with all people are explored by a multi-professional team in order to ensure that diagnosis is appropriate. This is then followed by intervention or school support that can be delivered by trained practitioners within the region. Dr McCauley has developed a strong presence within Singapore, working mainly with International schools, and has also been working in Bali supporting schools and families, and bringing qualified and trained professionals together in order to deliver a better service to the families who live there. [/learn_more]

Using visual, tactile and sensory tools with special needs students: Kanni Krishnan

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] Understanding social nuances and effective communication are crucial in enhancing interpersonal relationships and achieving successful social outcomes. Everyone, including those with special needs or learning difficulties have the potential to increase their social awareness and their level of communication so that they are able to identify, respond to and even initiate conversations in challenging situations. Using Visual, Tactile and Sensory Tools with Special Needs Students will introduce to participants the different tools/visual aids (like Strength cards, Feeling Cards, Coping Cards etc. ) particularly the attractive educational Kimochis, that can be used, to facilitate conversations about social situations, feelings and emotions for children with special needs. Along with the other visual resources, the Kimochis (means “Feelings” in Japanese) can be used as alternative/augmentative communication device to teach children with special needs skills to self regulate, manage their emotions and handle interpersonal situations effectively. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Kanni Krishnan’s Bio”] Ms Kanni Krishnan is an experienced educator with over 20 years of service with the Ministry of Education. Ms Kanni began her career with MOE as a teacher and went on to work as a Guidance officer with MOE HQ, Head of Department (Pastoral Care), School Counsellor and Counsellor at AST, MOE. While her main focus has been supporting/counselling students ( including special needs students with ASD and ADHD), Kanni has also orgnaised and conducted training for schools in Sexuality Education, Student Behaviour Management, Crisis Management and Suicide Awareness. Her current interest is in Sand play therapy. Kanni has a Bachelor of Arts (National University of Singapore), post Grad Diploma Education (NIE) and Master of Arts in Applied Psychology –Counselling (Nanyang Technological University).[/learn_more]

Vision and learning: Tiong Peng Yap

[learn_more caption=”Workshop Details”] This workshop will provide an introduction to vision development in children. It will focus on some of the common eye (or visual) problems that may have an impact on learning. Reading involves a wide range of cognitive skills and vision is one of the core components of the process of reading and learning. Certain vision problems are particularly prevalent and can contribute to a child’s reading difficulty. For example, some children suffer from an unstable coordination of their two eyes and others suffer from a reduced ability for their eyes to focus close up. These visual functions will be explored during the workshop in reference to the current scientific evidence in treating these anomalies. Visual-spatial perceptual difficulties are mostly related to higher level visual function that is beyond the routine eye examination. The assessment process entails a battery of functional tests to evaluate how efficiently a child uses their two eyes together as a team – this includes focusing (accommodative), convergence (binocularity) and tracking (oculomotor) skills. There is also a possibility that visual perceptual discomfort from Meares-Irlen Syndrome can hinder reading (see SENIA Conference Workshop 2) or may discourage children from prolonged reading. In the run-up to school exams, some children may complain of headaches, eyestrain or discomfort when coping with a large amount of reading. Participants in this workshop will be given a rundown of a list of tell-tale signs and symptoms to them to identify children with potential vision problems in school or at home. This workshop will be useful for teachers, parents and allied-health professionals.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Tiong Peng Yap’s Bio”] Tiong-Peng Yap is a senior consultant optometrist with a special interest in childrenwith specific learning difficulties and their vision development. Trained in the U.K., he has lectured regionally on the topics ‘Dyslexia and Vision’, ‘Visual Stress’ (Irlen Syndrome), ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’, ‘Contact Lenses’ and ‘Low Vision’. He was responsible for teaching the courses ‘Geometrical Optics’, ‘Physical Optics’, ‘Binocular Vision’ (Orthoptics) and ‘Visual Neurophysiology’ at Singapore Polytechnic and the University of Manchester. Tiong is currently involved in Children Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) research at the University of New South Wales (Australia) and he is working full-time in Paediatric Optometry and general practice at IGARD Group (Singapore). Acknowledgement: This workshop was first delivered by Tiong-Peng Yap in February 2011 jointly with Professor Bruce Evans (City University London and U.K. Institute of Optometry) at the ‘Vision and Learning’ Forum organized by the People’s Association, Singapore; and the First Paediatric Optometry Symposium held at the Singapore Polytechnic. It was updated in 2014 with additional information from Professor Evans and Professor Arnold Wilkins (University of Essex, U.K.). An article on ‘Dyslexia and Vision: Current Evidence and Clinical Interventions’ has been published on the Medical Grapevine (Asia) in 2013 by Tiong-Peng Yap.[/learn_more]