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Humanities > Education > Teaching assistants: support in action
 Teaching assistants: support in action  posted by  member150_php   on 3/12/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Teaching assistants: support in action


  • Time: 4 hours
    Level: Introductory



  • Introduction Resource
  • Teaching assistants, and similar learning support staff, are part of a growing new workforce in the public sector. They are sometimes referred to as ‘paraprofessionals’ – that is, workers who supplement...

1 The rise of the paraprofessional

  • 1.1 Supporting the professionals Resource
  • To gain a better understanding of the teaching assistant's role, it is helpful to consider the ways in which different kinds of professionals are supported by paraprofessionals. Just as there are teaching...
  • 1.2 Titles, terminology and core duties Resource
  • As we have said, in the UK there are a number of terms in current use to describe those who provide learning support to children. It would be wrong to suggest that these terms describe the same roles and...
  • 1.3 Shift in core duties Resource
  • Over the last ten years, many teaching assistants across the UK have experienced a notable change in their day-to-day involvement in schools. A student on The Open University's specialist teacher assistant...
  • 1.4 Ways of working and contributing Resource
  • The physical design of most primary schools certainly reflects the expectation that teachers work in classrooms with large numbers of children. In fact, given their large classes, most schools feel quite...
  • 1.5 Growth of the teaching assistant workforce Resource
  • In all four UK countries there has been a growth in the number of teaching assistants working alongside teachers in primary classrooms. As we have indicated, the seeds of this development were sown some...
  • 1.6 Teaching assistants in Europe Resource
  • Teaching assistants and other related learning support staff are also to be found in the schools for children of British armed forces posted overseas, in the schools of other European countries and, indeed,...

2 The paraprofessional labour market

  • 2.1 Who are the paraprofessionals? Resource
  • So who are the paraprofessionals in the UK and, given the relatively recent need for their labour, where have they come from? As we noted earlier, the great majority of paraprofessionals are women. Between...
  • 2.2 Profile of teaching assistants: an overview Resource
  • Traditionally the primary education sector has employed a high proportion of women teachers. In England and Wales in 1980, male teachers constituted around 23 per cent and female teachers 77 per cent of...
  • 2.3 Gender, age and ethnicity profile of teaching assistants Resource
  • We have seen the extent to which the teaching assistant workforce is a gendered group. But what are its characteristics in terms of age and ethnicity?

3 Contribution and roles

  • 3.1 What is the value of teaching assistants? Resource
  • Hilary Cremin et al. (2003) in their evaluation of the ways in which teachers and teaching assistants can work together in teams, suggest that, while there is enthusiasm for additional support, little...
  • 3.2 What do children and parents think of teaching assistants? Resource
  • Curiously, little has been written about their perspectives. A small-scale study involving 78 primary-aged children in England (Eyres et al., 2004) showed that children can, when asked, differentiate between...
  • 3.3 Distinctive contributions Resource
  • In Activity 1 you looked at brief descriptions of the duties of classroom support staff working in eight schools across the UK. Despite the brevity of information, there is sufficient to suggest that teaching...
  • 3.4 Evolving roles in teaching Resource
  • The impact of the expanding contribution of teaching assistants on the teacher's role is generally recognised as being positive. It is worth acknowledging, however, that many teachers have had to make...

4 Support in action

  • 4.1 Focusing on support practice Resource
  • If you are a teaching assistant, your role of supporting teaching and learning in the classroom may have evolved with time. Alternatively you may have been recruited to the role for that very purpose....
  • 4.2 Teaching assistants of the future Resource
  • There is surely not a more exciting time than now for teaching assistants. Not only has the contribution of the teaching assistant's role to the effective teaching of the curriculum been recognised by...

5 Conclusion

  • 5.1 Review Resource
  • One of the central aims of this unit has been to give you a sense of being part of an exciting educational development. We have therefore set the employment of teaching assistants in the context of the...

References and Acknowledgements

  • References Resource
  • Acknowledgements Resource   Tell A Friend