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Guidelines for working in partnership

with Teacher Aides.

Abby Washington

The role of a Teacher Aide


The best way to help your children join in and learn is if everyone works together as a
team to meet all childrens needs. This includes you childrens class teacher and
education specialists working in partnership with you, your family, and whnau. Your
childrens teacher aide is an important part of this team. Teacher aides work under the
direction of the classroom teacher to support all children to make the most of every
learning experience. Below are a list of ways teacher aides will assist children to ensure
the best learning environment is being obtained.
(Ministry of Education, 2012)
- Carry out learning activities with all
children.

- Inclusion of all students.Encourage


students to work together in groups.
Together we can all learn from each other.

- Help the teacher in the classroom by


using strategies to manage childrens
behaviour.

- Take on some of the class teachers duties


so they have time to work more directly with
children who need extra support.

-Work in partnership with all students in


the class, encouraging and supporting all
children.
(Ministry of Education, 2012)

(Ministry of Education, 2012)

Help build childrens independence by knowing when to stand back and let
children try things on their own (fading out).

Use natural supports. An example of this is including all children into group
activities. All children should be given the opportunity to make make contributions
to groups and their classroom.

Support children with any personal care needs. This includes: help with any
equipment the children may require, physical needs, medicines, feeding and toilet
requirements.

- Kind caring and helpful (Bland & Sleightholmes, 2012, p.174)


-Provide children with confidence in their learning (Bland & Sleightholmes, 2012).
(Ministry of Education, 2012)

Fairness is not giving everyone the same thing. Fairness


is giving each person what they need to succeed (Lynn, n.d)
- Meet with the classroom teacher regularly to discuss students progression.
- Help the classroom teacher to create lesson plans for all students with educational
needs.
- Provide supervision in group settings (e.g playground, bus boarding, school
crossing). Teacher aides are apart of the team and are encouraged to support school
responsibilities.

Clarication of teacher and teacher aide roles


and responsibilities in the school.

How the childrens class teacher and teacher aides work together in partnership to ensure
the best learning environment for all learners.

*Teachers who are instructionally engaged with students


with disabilities express responsibility for educating all
students in their class, regardless of disability.
*Effective teachers are required to know the functioning
levels and anticipated learning outcomes for all of their
learners.
*Teachers who have children with disabilities in their
classroom instruct and communicate directly with students
who have disabilities.
*Teachers have the role of collaborating effectively with
teacher aides. Together teachers and teacher aides will
collaborate and participate in instructional decision making.

(Giangreco, 2003)

*Teachers support teacher aides through planning lessons that match the skill
level of the teacher aide. They mentor teacher aides and maintain professional
dialogue.
*They identify when teacher aides can be faded out when a child no longer needs
the required support.
*Teachers are responsible for the planning. Implementation and monitoring of
assessment/evaluation of all children.
* Arrange the class furniture and program to fit the needs of all children. This will
allow all your children to be physically and socially included in all classroom
activities.

Education is not just about academic learning. Teacher aides also need to
focus on social learning developing key competencies (Ward, 2011).

(Ministry of Education, 2012).

Establishing and maintaining eective means of


communication (Including means of nding time for
planning and meetings).
Having effective collaborations between teacher aides
and teachers is beneficial for both the adults and
children involved. Having effective collaboration
between teachers and teachers aides enables
consideration of multiple view points. This allows
teachers and teacher aides to work together solving
problems,
and
finding
ways
to
make
a
difference(Ferguson, 2014, p.59).

Teacher aides use a range of strategies to simplify and


interpret instructions from academic tasks and resource
materials that have been scaffolded by a qualified
teacher (Ferguson, 2014). Teachers and teachers aides
should meet each week. These meetings should be
used to go over the childrens program, discussing
what is working well and decide what what need
change. This is also a time to reflect on all the children
in the classroom.This will include identifying which
children are meeting their goals and who needs extra
support Giangreco, 2003.

Below are quotes from an interview with a


teacher aide. She supports the teacher and a
child with down syndrome. This teacher aide
discussed the importance of maintaining
communication between teacher aides and
teachers.
Q What advice can teacher aides give you, as a
student and future teacher?
A. I believe the best advice I can give to you as
a future educator is to make sure you have a
good relationship with teacher aide. Make sure
you communicate regularly with them, make
clear what you want the teacher aide to do in
the classroom. This will allow you to be
confident in assisting all children.

Working together effectively in a busy classroom requires a strong collaborative relationship:


Identify any conflict areas
Clarify expectations
Agree on how to raise issues
Agree on how to problem-solve
Through communication teacher aides will be aware of how their time will be used.
Support teachers helping them guide their day to day activities.

(TKI, 2004)

Meet together regularly to:


Discuss
Plan
Give each other feedback.
Communication can be used through: emails, communication books, and meeting within school
hours.

(TKI, 2004)

Standard of professional conduct


Along with teachers, teachers aides have a standard of professional conduct, working within
professional boundaries.
Standard of professional conduct to follow:
*For both teachers and teacher aides, a standard of professional conduct is keeping
information learnt about students and families/whnau private and confidential.
Information that is shared in the school should only be to those who are supporting the
student. It is important that the teacher aide and teacher respect the privacy of all
learners and keep a professional manner. (TKI, 2004)
*Creating partnerships beyond school with families and whnau is important for the
success of children. Showing respect towards families and whnau is shown through
how you communicate to one another, valuing their knowledge and input. Knowing
professional boundaries with family and whnau is important. Communication with
parents and wider school community should be dealt with in a professional way. This
also includes knowing the appropriate times for the nature of your conversations. Some
conversations may need to be addressed in the environment away from children.
(TKI, 2004)
*Although teacher aides do not require training, some teacher aides will be encouraged
to get specialist training to provide personal and physical care for students. (TKI, 2004)

Provision of constructive feedback to teacher aides


In New Zealand their are no requirements that regard pre-requisite training or
qualifications to become a teacher aide. All that is necessary is a police check to ensure
that there is no serious criminal offences (Ferguson, 2014). As it is evident that some
teacher aides have had little or no experience of working with children who need extra
learning support, the teacher and teacher aide must work collaboratively. This is
important for both family/whnua and the children to ensure their teachers, teacher aide
is providing all learners with the best opportunities to succeed.
Working collaboratively requires teachers to provide their teacher aide with direct
feedback. Although this feedback can be both positive and negative feedback, it must be
in manner that allows the teacher aide to adapt approaches ensuring they are an
effective support system for all children. This feedback should be direct giving
informative and constructive comments to teacher aides. The role of the teacher is also
to support and guide their teacher aide. Teachers must give teacher aides on-going
feedback to develop their teaching strategies.
There are expectations that the class teacher will meet with the teacher aide regularly
(Ferguson, 2014). Depending on different circumstances these meeting times may
happen before school, at lunch time, after school, or even in a time that is suited for
both professions. Along with meeting to plan for all learners, this is a time of reflection.
This feedback will also address the progress of students due to the strategies of the
teacher aide. Teachers will provide teacher aides with appropriate feedback to address
the students progressions. Teachers should provide teacher aides with examples on how
to adapt their strategies to provide the best learning for all children.