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Title: Promoting effective teacher-TA partnerships through collaboration and mutual professional development
Author: Spencer, Paul Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 5151
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This research study focuses on the partnership between teachers and teaching assistants working in the secondary mathematics classroom. The impact teaching assistants (TAs) have on student learning and progress has been a widely debated topic and the focus of previous research studies. The publication of results from the deployment and impact of support staff (DISS) project (Blatchford et al. 2009) has renewed the focus on the impact and management of TAs. The DISS study concluded that TAs have a negative impact on the progress of students, but also highlighted that this outcome was inconsistent with the perception of teachers who felt that TAs have a positive impact on student behaviour and engagement. Blatchford et al concluded that the negative impact of TAs could be caused by a lack of training of TAs and a lack of understanding by teachers about the most effective way to utilise TAs in the classroom. They recommended that further research into the work of TAs and an increased focus on the training and professional development of both teachers and TAs was needed. A questionnaire was employed to provide information about existing working practices of teachers and TAs and a multiple embedded case study methodology was subsequently utilised to analyse three teacher-TA partnerships which are considered effective, in order to identify which characteristics of the way they work collaboratively encourage effective partnerships and practices. One of the main outcomes from this research is the identification of 40 factors which contribute towards the development of effective teacher-TA partnerships. The importance of each of these factors in the development of effective partnerships was assessed using aspects of multi-attribute utility theory. A self-evaluation tool for teachers and TAs was then developed based on these outcomes. The self-evaluation tool gives teachers and TAs the opportunity to quickly and easily assess their current practice and identify a focus for their future professional development, encouraging the development of an effective partnership. TAs are ideally positioned to have a significant positive impact on the progress and learning of students but, at present, the positive perceptions by teachers of TA support are not evidenced in students’ progress or learning. It is imperative for the future of the TA role that partnerships between teachers and TAs become more effective, as the improved partnerships will likely impact upon student progress and learning. The selfevaluation tool, developed in this research study, is designed to impact on the effectiveness of these teacher-TA partnerships through mutual professional development.
Supervisor: Edwards, Julie-Ann Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management ; LB Theory and practice of education