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Teaching assistants

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by geenius, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. geenius

    geenius New commenter

    Hi, been teaching many years now and not had this issue before but now had it twice in last six months. Support assistant pounding around the classroom, reprimanding bad behaviour very loudly without seeking support from classroom teacher first which then puts the other students off and ruins the tone of the lesson, giving permission for a student to leave without deeming it appropriate to ask/inform class teacher and the final really huge issue - asking for everyone's attention in the class and then teaching a small topic!!!! This has ALL happend in ONE lesson. It serves to undermine the teacher and confuse the life out of the students. Support assistants are there to support; this is totally unacceptable and they need some serious cpd or refresher on their understanding of their role!!!! Please let me know if you have experienced anything similar; how you dealt with it and how this can be stopped from happening as it VERY uncomfortable and unsettling.
  2. Mattz1993

    Mattz1993 New commenter

    Hi @geenius

    I'm going to respond to your concerns from a managerial stance (as I'm apart of a Locality SEN Management Team for a large provider). I can see that you're frustrated by the behaviour displayed by this particular member of staff. I think that it is important to remember that the roles and responsibilities for learning support staff have changed drastically since the introduction of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice (2014) - a large number of staff are continually trying to learn the new responsibilities and get to grips with the movement to intervention based support. I also think that it is important to highlight that many teaching assistants miss out on opportunities for CPD and performance appraisal (which I highly disagree with).

    Section 6.36 of the SEND Code of Practice states that: "Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff."

    I would uphold that you are responsible for the conduct of the teaching assistant in your classroom, whether you directly line management them or not. I think that the best way to handle this situation would be to try the following:
    • Brief the teaching assistant before the session.
      • Provide the teaching assistant with a copy of your lesson plan and brief them on exactly on what you would like them to do for the session. This doesn't have to be face to face - you could send them an e-mail once you have completed the session plan (although I highly recommend face-to-face over e-mail).
      • Remind the member of staff what you want them to do at regular intervals. For example, explain to the class and then the teaching assistant. "Okay, to recap before I set you all off on this task, I'd like you talk in your groups about the difference between argument and persuasion. You have 10 minutes to write down 4 differences, the timer is on the board. [Joe] could you work with group 3 and ensure that they meet the 4 differences?"
    • Debrief the teaching assistance after the session.
      • Ask to talk to the teaching assistant after the session. I always recommend you do this, whether you are having issues or not. Ask them how they feel the session went and what could be improved. You can then politely (but also assertively) request that they refrain from those types of behaviours they displayed in the session. Try to also praise the work that they are doing. For example: "I agree that the timer worked well. I was a little taken aback by your request for the class to pay attention to you, so you could discuss an irrelevant topic and felt that it distracted the learners from their task. Could I ask you to just double check with me before in future?" I would then end on a positive: "Thank you for supporting [Amelia] today with her referencing; she's been struggling to reference in a couple of her pieces and her work today looks on-point. I really appreciate it."
      • Follow up your debrief with a quick e-mail; it doesn't need to be formal, but could outline the whole conversation and where both of you can develop your practice.
    • If the behaviour continues, say after a 6 week period, I would then consider approaching the persons line manager for further advice, armed with your communications so show that you have been trying to address those issues in class.

    I hope that you find this information useful; if you want any more advice, feel free to give me a shout and let us know how you get on!

    Matt :)

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