This assignment shall review a research paper, entitled The effectiveness of the use of learning support assistants in improving the mathematics achievement of low achieving pupils in primary school. ‘ (Music and Reynolds 2003). This paper discusses the results of a programmer designed by Dry Daniel Mulls and Dry David Reynolds to examine the use of Task within math’s lessons assisting a low ability group of children. This assignment will draw together other people’s views and ideas about this matter, offering reasons for and against statements presented in the paper and gathering evidence useful to assist the discussion.
The role of a teaching assistant (TA) varies from school to school. Task may work supporting an individual or a group of pupils, or they may support the teacher (CT) in the classroom. According to the Dally Mail (2013) there are nearly 232,000 Task working In this country. The role Is described In the TEST (2012) they have a varied work life as they can be deployed to work with groups or individuals all with varying needs, this may be because English Is not their first language or because they have learning difficulties and require additional help understanding or completing asks.
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They may also be asked to help Individual pupils who do not require additional support, but where one to one teaching is necessary – for example listening to pupils reading. As well as this they will often carry out further tasks to assist the CT such as getting materials ready for the lesson, preparing worksheets, preparing books and setting up equipment so as to help free up teaching time to the benefit of all the class. Published by the UDF (2012) the effective TA does not contribute to the functioning of a school merely between the start and end of lessons, but is a part of a network of relationships’ with the school at its centre.
The relationships may be pupil-support based, such as In working with external specialists, or may be a form of support for the school, as in communicating with parents. In 2001 the former Minister of Education Estelle Morris, said in a speech to the Social Market Foundation, Task will in future be employed in supervision of classes that are undertaking work set by a CT, or working with small groups of pupils on reading practice, supervising lunchtime activities and Invigilating tests, Glenn pastoral and other Individual purport to pupils and covering for CT absence (Morris, 2001 Cited in Music and Reynolds 2003).
Task are now being utilized In Increased numbers In some of the government schemes to ‘remodel’ the teaching profession, and recently a new agreement between government and the teaching unions was proposed which likewise increases the use of Task in English schools. The largest CT union has refused to sign up to this agreement, however (Woodward, 2003).
In 2003 a study was undertaken by the Gatsby Charitable Trust led by Dry Daniel Mulls and Dry David Reynolds in which hey researched the effectiveness of the TA supporting lower ability children in 1 OFF was rising rapidly and put this down to factors such as teacher shortages, the inclusion policy leading to pupils with special educational needs (SEEN) in mainstream schools and larger class sizes. This view is backed by a similar study by Hoes et al who identified the SPAR SKI study (cited in Blackthorn et al. , 2004) as one of only a very few studies of sufficiently high quality to warrant inclusion.
It found no appreciable effect of the presence of Task in classrooms on pupils’ academic progress n primary schools. Blackthorn et al (2004) noted that their study found little evidence that the presence of Task, or any characteristic of Task, such as training or experience, had a measurable effect on pupil attainment in the school class where they were deployed. Pupils felt different to this in a study conducted by Smith (2010) for the Teacher Training Resource Bank it is stated that pupils recognize not only the help Task offer ACTS but see them as an adult to whom they can turn.
Unsurprisingly, all of the pupils in this study wanted a TA in their class and all felt that working with a TA eave them much more confidence. This point is shared by Unison (2009), Task have a very valuable role to play in delivering high quality education. They are not ACTS – they do not have the same training or access to ongoing support and certainly do not get paid the same. Blackthorn et al (2007) said that one can conceive of the impact of Task not Just in terms of pupil learning and attainment, but also in relation to pupil and CT behavior in the classroom.
There is only anecdotal evidence, and we also wanted, on the basis of systematic observations, and case studies, to provide a more reliable account of he effect of Task on interactions involving pupils and ACTS in the same classrooms. Wider research and investigations need to be undertaken to make a proper decision. Research on the effect of the use of Task on achievement has so far been limited. Early studies produced mixed results – the earliest study, conducted in the mid-asses in Michigan, found that use of Task did not improve achievement compared to classes in which no assistants were employed.
Task were largely used to help with administrative tasks, rather than intervening educationally, however (Park, 956). A small-scale study conducted in America in the asses did find positive effects of using Task on pupils’ reading readiness but this was again a minor example. In their response to these evaluation findings, the developers of the Gatsby project decided to put in place a training programmer and more extensive use of Task in mathematics (known as Innumeracy Support Assistants, NASA).
These Task were to provide extra support to low achieving pupils during and after mathematics lessons, starting in the summer term 2000. As mentioned earlier Task are being utilized more n schools and are now trained as higher level teaching assistants (HALT) that can take classes themselves. Government policy to increase and provide higher level classroom support (TTL et al. , 2003) has formalized the shift in the role of the TA in more recent years from someone who helps with the classroom ‘housekeeping, such as putting up displays and washing pots, to that of providing direct pedagogical support to the CT (Edmond, 2003).
The Gatsby project makes no reference to what standard and unlike the government-funded HALT training programmer, foundation agree programmer appear to have adopted a model of mentoring closely based on the established initial teacher training model where the regulations, while not specifying a single model of operation, do require school staff to be fully and actively involved in planning and teaching, as well as in the selection and final assessment of trainees (Defies,ATA, 2002).
According to Mulls and Reynolds (2003) the study did not provide much support for the use of Task in improving achievement in lower ability pupils and it would seem ill- advised to seek to solve CT shortages by replacing them with an army of Task, unless entry qualifications, training and rewards for the latter are substantially improved. Any firm conclusions have to remain tentative, however, until further (especially qualitative) research is done on how Task can assist ACTS and pupils effectively.
However they do acknowledge that the amount of training offered to the Task used was only an initial three-day training event, delivered by Gatsby MOPE local area coordinators. In conclusion although the findings of this particular study show nil or limited positive improvement in achievement, the view that Task are not valuable in primary schools is not shared and it is widely acknowledged that pupils, ACTS and government departments have a vested interest and need of Task in school.
Blackthorn et al (2007) posited a pupil’s point of view the CT tends to interact predominantly with the class or other pupils, while the TA spends most of their time interacting specifically with individuals, and in this sense gives them more individualized attention. The UDF (2010) want to give Task the chance of training and recognize the impact that it would have on support staff, who would be increasingly recognizes for the contribution they aka in raising standards and stated that they would have increased career choices and career development opportunities.
Bach et al (2006) discussed CT thoughts about Task in class and noted that there was a consensus that Task were highly valued and were increasingly integral to their ability to teach effectively. Another adult in the classroom was seen as invaluable in assisting in the teaching of children. Task were also valued for their assistance in finding out if all children followed a particular lesson and for providing support with behavioral issues. Many CT also enjoyed the sense of team working with their TA and the degree to which it reduced any sense of isolation from being alone with a group of children all day.