Tes is reporting that a study by Northampton University found that TAs felt “awkward” about their place in the classroom.
And while TAs thought that they should be managing children’s behaviour, Emma Clarke, the study’s author and a former primary teacher, found that there was little time for teachers and TAs to talk about how this should be done.
The research, based on in-depth interviews with 30 TAs from 18 schools, found that TAs were relying on guesswork and experience to guide how they managed pupils.
“None of the TAs in this study had ever had a conversation with a teacher about their role in classroom discipline, yet each of them believes it is part of their job,” Dr Clarke said.
There are 277,500 TAs employed in primary schools across England and Dr Clarke found TA roles varied widely, ranging from pastoral support to administrative duties, academic support and work in partnership with teachers.
“Many teachers don’t communicate effectively with TAs due to time pressures and workload, and as a result, there is a very wide gulf in expectations. This leads to a great deal of uncertainty for TAs and often inaction on their part.”
She said: “TAs could potentially contribute so much more to our children’s education if their place in the classroom was properly defined. Classroom behaviour is known to be a key factor in deterring undergraduates from training as teachers.”
Are you a TA that feels the same? Or do you communicate enough with your TA? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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