Teachers and Assistants Working Together

2nd December 2005 at 00:00
Teachers and Assistants Working Together

By Karen Vincett, Hilary Cremin and Gary Thomas

Open University Press pound;17.99

This is an excellent book, founded in action research that enables it to go beyond the "seat-of-the-pants" methodology that informs much material on TAteacher partnerships.

We all know that, as the authors say, "the number of teaching assistants in schools has mushroomed in recent years" (although some TA-to-teacher ratios on page 3, and a graph on page 10, are confusingly presented so as to give the opposite impression). We also know, as is also well articulated here, that schools aren't always sure what to do with them. "One important finding... is that the presence of extra people in class does not automatically improve the situation for the children. Who should be doing what? And how should they be doing it?"

The book addresses these questions with a review of previous research and findings from a project run by the special needs service in Essex. The project looked at three models of TAteacher working: "room management", in which one person concentrates on intensive teaching of individual students while the other keeps the rest purposefully engaged; "zoning", where staff take responsibility for different areas of the classroom; and "reflective teamwork", where the aim is to improve classroom teamwork by enhancing communication, planning and review.

The book examines the models, and shows how they can be used in class.

Finally, there are CPD activities and a "Toolkit for classroom research", with questionnaires and observation schedules.

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