Teaching assistants play a vital role in the development and learning of students. Within the classroom, they provide critical support to a teacher and help to make sure that the school environment is harmonious and productive.
Teaching assistants often need a certain level of training to be effective within their roles, and this training is a vital component of their overall effectiveness. Therefore, it is necessary to make sensible decisions when considering a career as a teaching assistant. LearnQ can help to provide a well-rounded education in this field for anyone who wants to become a teaching assistant.
So, the role of a teaching assistant is quite simple to understand. The teaching assistant is there to serve as support for the teacher themselves, working with them to make sure that children receive support for both their social and educational development inside and outside of the classroom environment.
Teaching assistants are expected to support teachers by providing critical support in a range of ways. In secondary school, a teaching assistant is often referred to as a learning support assistant. Their responsibilities will vary from one situation to the next, but general support capability is expected.
While it is true that the roles involved in a teaching assistant can vary from one place to the next, there are certain responsibilities that are expected on a universal basis:
There are many situations where certain pupils who need extra support will be supplied with a teaching assistant to work exclusively with them. Some will work on a one-to-one basis, but other teachers will work in smaller groups.
Lots of schools will employ teaching assistants who have a specialism in a certain field. Teachers who perform well in English, mathematics, music, creative arts or special educational needs (SEN) are often in popular demand.
You may also find that you are expected to work with children who do not speak English as a first language if you have fluency in another language, but this depends on the situation.
Generally speaking, there is an expectation that experienced or specifically-trained teaching assistants can be expected to supervise a class on behalf of a teacher who is either undertaking training or is sick – negating the need to locate a supply teacher.
Naturally, every class has to be allocated a teacher as part of standard daily life, but higher-level teaching assistants (HLTA) would be expected to lead a lesson on occasion if the need arose for it. This would vary according to specific situations, however.
If a school leader wants to be successful in their role, they need to be able to handle a few key responsibilities.
As the most important skill, they need to be able to lead the way when it comes to pushing for both teaching and learning outcomes for students. This is all about making sure to set expectations about the learning practices laid down by the school and making sure to use the values and behaviours of the organisation to successfully focus on improving the success of a student.
In 2016, a group of educational experts and students made a series of professional standards for teaching assistants who operated in schools.
The purpose of the educational standards was to hold teaching assistants to task and bring them into line with their colleagues in the school environment – teachers and headteachers – who already had a pre-existing series of regulations and expected standards.
There are four main areas where teaching assistant standards are outlined, and each one is important to the successful conduct of a TA.
The teaching assistant standards are for two groups – the teaching assistants themselves and the regulatory bodies associated with them.
For the teaching assistants, the standards serve as a good guideline to help them understand and tackle the bulk of everyday behaviour and expected standards. Teaching assistants are expected to behave in such a way that complies with the codes.
For regulatory bodies, like inspectors, the guidelines are a framework to assess teaching assistants and to make sure they are operating in a responsible, mature fashion. It provides a valuable benchmark for successful grading.
The guidelines for teaching assistant standards are broken up into four different themes. Each area comprises a different aspect of teaching assistant life, and it is necessary to understand and comply with each of them for a well-rounded, supportive, and authoritative presence.
These themes are the following:
Let’s take a proper look at each of these themes and discuss what they are composed of to help provide a comprehensive understanding for prospective learners. Each theme is equally important for a teaching assistant.
The first aspect of the teaching assistant standards is the personal and professional conduct that all teaching assistants are bound to. This states that teaching assistants should maintain public trust in education as a profession by doing the following:
The second area of teaching assistant themes is all about knowledge and understanding. Teaching assistants are expected to:
The third value for a teaching assistant is all about teaching and learning. You’ll be expected to:
The final value is all about working with others. Teaching assistants are expected to be able to:
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Both teaching assistants and learning assistants can both be found working in a classroom setting. They offer support to the teacher during their teaching, and they are there to ensure that the children within the class receive the very best level of education possible.
Not only will they work with individual children on a one-on-one basis, but they will also be asked to work with groups for focused learning as well as support children during the class input and work to keep them on target and focused.
There are a variety of different titles that a teaching assistant can have. It really depends on the type of school that they work in and what their role is identified as being.
You may find that a teaching assistant is also referred to as a classroom assistant, a learning support assistant. They may also be called a teaching aide.
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