Download e-book Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools

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See Terms and Conditions. Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment. Toggle navigation. Home Best Practice Article. Photo: iStock Probably the main way TAs can best help is with managing behaviour alongside the teacher in the Suzanne O'Connell finds out about emerging best practice and the advice schools are being given Putting up displays, photocopying worksheets, listening to children read.


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The report has seven recommendations which are divided into three sections: Everyday classroom contexts. Structured interventions outside of class. Linking learning from work led by teachers and teaching assistants.

Account Options

Every day classroom contexts It is clear: teaching assistants should not be used as an informal teaching resource for low-attaining pupils. Instead schools should: Use teaching assistants to add value to what teachers do, not replace them. Use teaching assistants to help pupils develop independent learning skills and manage their own learning. In order to encourage it, teaching assistants should: Provide the right amount of support at the right time. Make pupils comfortable in taking risks with their learning.

Use open-ended questions. Help pupils retain responsibility for their learning. Give the least amount of help first to support pupils' ownership of tasks However, teaching assistants should avoid: Prioritising task-completion. Not allowing pupils enough thinking and response time.

The diverse role of the TA

Over-prompting and spoon-feeding. High use of closed questions. The EEF suggests that teaching assistants need to know in advance of the lesson: Concepts, facts, information being taught. Skills to be learned, applied, practised or extended. Intended learning outcomes. Expected or required feedback.

What Do The Best Schools Do to Make Effective Use of Their Teaching Assistants

Structured interventions and linked learning Teaching assistants have gradually become the key component in the management of interventions. Schools are advised that their intervention programmes should: Include brief and regular sessions of 20 to 50 minutes, three to five times a week over a sustained period of eight to 20 weeks. Be accompanied by training for teaching assistants of around five to 30 hours per intervention.

Have lesson plans with clear objectives. Be linked to classroom teaching. Objectives are set for the teaching assistants as part of performance management and Ms Alliston uses the Teachers' Standards as a reference At Charlotte Sharman weekly training is now built into the teaching assistants' diary. Expecting much more from our TAs but paying them poorly. If the expectation is higher, then so must the qualifications, subject knowledge and pay. Probably the main way TAs can best help is with managing behaviour alongside the teacher in the classroom - particularly with children who have, for example, attention difficulties or ASD.

Dyslexic children are likely to benefit the least from spending time with TAs. This is because dyslexics require consistent teaching, provided by a specialist teacher who plans and delivers the lessons, closely monitors progress and is skilled in adapting the programme accordingly. Name Please enter a valid name.

But what are the most effective ways to work together? And where does it sometimes go wrong? The effect that TAs have in the classroom has often been contested, with some reports questioning their impact on pupil progress and results. However, recent studies have been far more positive.

The key to success, it seems, is for TAs and teachers to developing a good working partnership. Behind-the-scenes efforts are critical to success, says TA Liz Byrne, who works at a primary school in Oxfordshire. Participation in planning, so that TAs have the opportunity to fully grasp the aims of a lesson, is now standard practice at the school.


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  7. Another key issue is how TAs should use their time in the classroom. The evidence in the report is crystal clear: poor TA deployment has a negative impact on attainment; effective TA deployment can have positive impacts. The quality of the interactions TAs have with pupils is absolutely key to learning gains. They spend a lot of time with pupils and — in the same way as teachers — their Maths specialist knowledge, their language, and their behaviour are highly important.

    In Maths, particularly Maths intervention, this is a big issue as very often the children who need the most specialist help are assigned to a TA for support.

    How the Best Schools Use Teaching Assistants - Third Space Learning

    This begs the question:. If you want to get the best out of your pupils in Maths then schools need specialist help. Without a common framework and set of standards, the use of TAs is likely to continue to vary widely, as will their effectiveness and the quality of their student interactions. While professional standards for teaching assistants should be high on the agenda, the draft standards produced in which would have been published as non-statutory advice were axed by the then Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan.

    This was an odd move, given that so many school leaders would have readily welcomed the set of standards. The resource is enormously helpful, but the government was not involved in its creation. It is essential that teaching assistants have an up-to-date knowledge of the recent changes to the mathematics curriculum and not just the content changes but the change in emphasis: i.

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    Reviewing your current practice and assessing whether changes should be made to ensure the effective use of TAs is paramount and should be a key element of your school improvement plan. This will give you the opportunity to assess the way that TAs are trained for their roles and whether they are deployed in ways that allow them to work most effectively. For most teachers, managing resources is part and parcel of the daily routine, but how much thought do we give to the TA as a valuable human resource?

    There are four areas to think about:. Without effective communication before a lesson then a TA will have little direction during it. As such it should be planned into the day for feedback and for a TA to provide ideas, suggestions, and ask questions. Appropriate working arrangements are an important factor and you will need to review where TAs are expected to work. Too often TAs are expected to work in a cramped or inappropriate working space with a small group or individuals and this is not conducive to effective learning.