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Title: Exploring the role of primary school teaching assistants in supporting pupils who display challenging behaviour : the teaching assistants' perspective
Author: Handelsman, G. H.
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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Pupils who display challenging behaviour are perceived by staff to be the most difficult group of children to include in mainstream primary schools. Their behaviour impacts upon their learning and well-being, their peers and school staff; effective support for these pupils is therefore important. Many Teaching Assistants (TAs) are deployed to support these pupils in schools. Their perceptions of th is role and experiences supporting these pupils influence their practice and can impact their effectiveness, yet little research has explored this specific TA role. This research used a two-phase, sequential, mixed-methods design to explore TAs' perceptions of their role in supporting pupils displaying challenging behaviour in mainstream primary schools within a large, English county. Phase One consisted of two focus groups, gaining the perspectives of TAs supporting pupils displaying challenging behaviour. Using thematic analysis, supported by MaxQDA, five overarching themes were identified. Phase Two entailed an internet-based questionnaire, constructed using Phase One findings, disseminated to a large TA population; 249 responses were analysed using SPSS. Findings from the two phases were triangulated and discussed to draw conclusions. The demographics and deployment of TAs within the county were described and the sample was demonstrated to be representative of the wider TA population. TAs supporting chi ldren displaying challenging behaviour reported experiencing disruptive, aggressive and withdrawn, emotional behaviours. They held various constructs of these children and attitudes towards their inclusion. These TAs perceived themselves to have a positive impact on 'The Child's Development', 'The TA-Child Relationship' and 'The Child within the System'. They identified several systemic, relationship and individual factors helping and hindering them in their role and reported varied experience of these. They also described strategies and interventions they perceive as effective. Good practice within the county and implications for schools and Educational Psychologists were highlighted to inform their practice and future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available