Teachers and Assistants Working Together

Teachers and Assistants Working Together

Teachers and Assistants Working Together

Teachers and Assistants Working Together


"Few areas of education can equal the growth rate of that for teaching assistants over the past seven years, doubling to more than 133,000 in England between 1997 to 2004. TAs are vital in the development of inclusive education, yet their status, pay, conditions, qualifications and their relationship with classroom teachers are all of deep concern in the majority of cases. This excellent, practical book is a welcome and much-needed authoritative study of the allimportant relationship between TA and teacher." Mark Vaughan OBE, Founder and Co-Director, Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education "This is an excellent book, founded in action research that enables it to go beyond the "seat-of-the-pants" methodology that informs much material on TA/teacher partnerships." TES This book is for teachers and teaching assistants seeking to improve the ways in which they work together to meet the needs of children in their classes. It outlines the thinking behind the employment of teaching assistants in the classroom and spells out some of the teamworking opportunities and problems that can arise. Drawing on original research, it explores ways in which teachers and teaching assistants can work together to support children's learning and examines different models of working together. This unique book provides: Highly effective models for working together, tried and tested in schools A practical section with activities, hand-outs and photocopiable resources that teachers can use to develop these models in their own schools This is a key text for classroom teachers, teaching assistants, trainee teachers and postgraduate education students, and those studying for foundation degrees for teaching assistants. It is also of use to parents, headteachers, educational psychologists, and other support personnel.


There's a famous quotation from Henry Ford:

Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.

These lines neatly sum up the issue, as we see it, for teachers and teaching assistants in classrooms. There's a need not just for understanding children's learning needs and ways of teaching, important as these are. Perhaps even more importantly, there is a need for teamwork between teachers and teaching assistants: the 'working together' of which Henry Ford spoke.

It's a serious issue. the 'coming together' has happened in the introduction of far more teaching assistants into schools in recent years: numbers have tripled over a ten-year period. But there has been less attention to the 'keeping together' and the 'working together'. It was this issue that led to the research work that this book reports.

There has been a widespread acceptance of the central role that teaching assistants play in meeting children's needs, yet few researchers have given thought to the changes that might occur when these extra people move into the domain of the teacher and how their potential contribution might be maximized. There seems to have been the assumption that teaching assistants will seamlessly slide into the classroom to work alongside the class teacher; that simply to provide 'help' for the teacher will automatically be a Good Thing. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that it isn't, and it can have effects that would not be anticipated. What is supposed to be 'assistance' can be a burden rather than a help if the people involved are not able to work as teams (see Thomas 1992).

The arrangements in which teachers and teaching assistants are finding themselves mean involvement in teamwork, but good teamwork is notoriously difficult to achieve. Evidence for the difficulty of teamwork in classrooms is provided by the history of team teaching. Team teaching began in the late 1960s with high hopes of success. It has, however, failed. Many . . .

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