Best Practice

SEN: Getting the last five minutes of your lesson right

The last five minutes of any lesson is vital if we are to avoid disengaged students, sensory overload, and anxiety – especially for those with SEN. Sara Alston advises

A quick scan of the education section in any bookshop demonstrates the emphasis put on the first few minutes of a lesson. The shelves heave with books on lesson starters and hooks for learning, but on the last five minutes there is almost nothing.

As Daniel Sobel and I were writing our book The Inclusive Classroom: A new approach to differentiation (2020), we became more and more focused on the importance of ensuring a successful end to a lesson as well as a successful beginning.

Too often the end of the lesson is rushed and under-planned. There is so much to include in the last few minutes of the lesson: some kind of plenary or recap of learning, an assessment of what the children have learnt and how far this links to what the teacher hoped they would learn, identifying and challenging misconceptions, self and peer evaluations as well as the practicalities of tidying up and getting the children safely out of the room.

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