Will they ever become independent learners?

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Students with a range of learning needs can become independent learners, even if it is for a limited period, and teachers can play a crucial role in developing this skill. Independent learners are self-motivated, self-directed, and take responsibility for their learning. Here are some recommendations: 

  • Individualised Education Plans (IEPs): 
  • Develop specific, measurable, and achievable goals related to culinary skills for each student in their IEPs. 
  • Tailor the goals to the student’s abilities and needs, ensuring they are challenging yet attainable. 
  • Task Analysis: 
  • Break down cooking tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. 
  • Provide clear instructions and visuals for each step to help students understand and follow the process independently. 

structured Routines: 

  • Put into place consistent routines in the culinary classroom to create a predictable environment. 
  • Routines will help students understand expectations and promote independence through repetition. 


  • Connect cooking skills to real-world applications and scenarios. 
  • Opportunities for students to apply their skills in a practical setting, such as at events or by contributing to school functions, 

Goal Setting:

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  • Involve students in the goal-setting process.
  • Help them identify personal culinary goals and create a plan for achieving them, promoting a sense of ownership and motivation. 

Reflection and Feedback:

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  • Incorporate reflection into the learning process. 
  • Provide constructive feedback to guide them as they refine their skills. 

Scaffolded Support:

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  • Offer varying levels of support based on individual student needs. 
  • Gradually reduce support as students demonstrate increased competence, allowing them to take on more responsibility. 

Teachers can and often do create a structured learning environment that supports the independence and success of special education students. The SEN coordinator should be able to provide specific, targeted suggestions made based on individual needs, ensuring that each student receives the appropriate level of support and challenge.