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Title: What supports teaching assistants' learning and development in primary schools?
Authors: Ihenacho, Christine Chioma
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: There is increasing focus and mention of Teaching Assistants (TAs) in educational and governmental policies, initiatives and schemes in England. TAs have become synonymous with Statements of special educational needs and disability (SEND) / Education Health and Care Plans and are central to strategies for educating children and young people with such support. There is debate about their effectiveness and how / if they are prepared for their role in supporting children with additional and complex needs. In 2014, the Department for Education (DfE) set out to create professional standards for all TAs to coordinate their practice and professional development (PD) in England but this was not published by the government. The focus of this research relates TAs’ perspectives and processes involved in their professional learning. A systematic review of literature revealed that limited attention has been given to TAs’ views about their learning, and how the wider context may impact their practice, learning and development. As such a meta-ethnographic review of current literature exploring TAs’ views about impact of PD is presented. From this, efficacy, relationships and identity were highlighted as prominent factors influenced by PD activities. Organisational context played a pivotal role in these three areas, highlighting an interplay between TA and environment. In the studies, there appeared to be a lack of in-depth understanding of what the TAs themselves thought supported their learning and practice. The aim of the linked empirical research was to explore: “How do Teaching Assistants learn in the workplace?” The research used realist Grounded Theory (GT) to analyse interviews with four TAs working in a mainstream First School and to develop a model. The emergent model highlights that TAs learn and develop in an organisational context with a supportive leader and culture. However, positive relationships appear to be fundamental to their learning and development in primary settings. The research findings are placed within the context of existing research. Implications for schools, policy makers and Educational Psychologists (EPs) are discussed and thoughts for future directions are suggested. A bridging chapter links the meta-ethnography to the empirical research. It explains my interest and motivations for carrying out this research and explores how my assumptions, values and beliefs about the world and knowledge influenced the research process and knowledge produced.
Description: D. App. Ed. Psy. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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