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Title: "You have your tears but you have your smiles" : making sense of complexity in teaching assistants' experiences of supporting pupils with additional needs in mainstream primary schools
Author: Sivers, S. L.
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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This study is an exploration of how teaching assistants (TAs) make sense of their role supporting pupils with additional need s, in mainstream primary schools. Despite a wealth of research which examines the role and impact. of TAs, little is known about how TAs' experience their role. This study brings the TAs' voices to the forefront and explores the ways in which they make sense of their role. In order to gain an in · depth view of TAs' experiences this study was conducted using the qualitative methodology of Interpretative Phenomenoiogical Analysis (Sm ith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) and grounded in a social constructionist epistemological position. The eight TAs who were interviewed for this study all had experience of working in inner-city London mainstream primary schools for between two and seventeen years. Interpretation of the narratives provided by the TAs provided uncovered an overarching theme of 'Experiences of Multi-Faceted Complexity'. Underpinn ing this overarching theme were three interconnected themes of 'Self in Role', 'Self with Children' and 'Self in the School System'. These themes are presented to illustrate the TAs' individual and collective experiences, including aspects of convergence and divergence. The themes are discussed in relation to extant literature concerning TAs and theoretical psychological frameworks of role and iden tity; learning; organisations and the emotional impact of teaching and learning. This study does not intend to make any general claims about TAs' experiences. However, it does provide 11 new insights into TAs' emotiona l, relational and transitory experiences; which may prove useful for educational psychologists and other professionals when working with TAs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available