The Role of a Teaching Assistant
The role of a teaching assistant can be broken down into four distinct areas. These four areas are all equally important and play a part in every teaching assistant’s position. The first area of support is the obvious one, support for the child. The most obvious role being that of supervising and assisting children in activities set by the teacher. This could be with a small group of children or with an individual child who is in need of some extra help. A teaching assistant should always try to raise the standards of each child’s achievement, be it through group work or individual tasks. They should do their best to enable children to become independent learners through allowing, for example, younger children to choose activities and carry out tasks that they may not normally be able to do such as dressing themselves or personal hygiene tasks. Children’s social skills are also of high importance and teaching assistants should work towards supporting relationships amongst their pupils.
This could come from helping to organise group activities or allowing children to work in pairs so that they develop different relationships with other children. It is also vital to allow children to understand the importance of including others in activities. Most children learn well through play and teaching assistants should utilise this and should try to keep children focused by providing fun ways of learning for them. From personal experience I also know that it is very important for teaching assistants to show interest and get to know each child individually. This shows the child that someone is there for them if they ever need to talk and involves the family of the child in their education more.
The family also need to know that someone is there for them if they ever need support. Another area of support is support for the teacher. This can be through routine tasks like tidying the classroom and keeping it in order, admin tasks or setting up activities, and tasks where they are helping the child to learn. If a teaching assistant gets involved with writing lesson plans, they are more likely to carry them out efficiently. Teaching assistants also provide the teacher with an extra pair of hands so that they can plan more practical lessons such as art and craft or physical activities and games. Teaching assistants are also a great source for providing feedback about individuals. If a child needs extra support, a teaching assistant is there to let the teacher know perhaps how the child is feeling and how they feel the teacher could make a difference. Supporting the curriculum is also of great importance. Teaching assistants provide support in a range of subjects such as mathematics, English and more practical subjects such as physical education and art and crafts. It also important to show interest in children’s work and make them proud of what they have achieved. One way of doing this is by creating displays.
Learning through arts and crafts is one way of learning through play. Learning through play is an important way that children learn. They often engage better if they are enjoying themselves and in turn take in more information. Lastly a teaching assistant needs to support the school where they work. A teaching assistant is part of a large team of people who all want what is best for the children of the school. They need to be able to spot early signs of bullying in order to keep children safe and happy, and need to take part in putting the schools behaviour management policies into practice.