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Title: A step towards clarifying TA ambiguity : a Q methodological study to elicit the views of teaching assistants regarding their current and ideal roles
Author: Cooper, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 7562
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Over the last 15 years there has been an increase in the number of Teaching Assistants (TAs) employed by schools to support children and young people (Tucker, 2009). It is recognised that TAs can impact on the educational (Webster et al, 2010), social (Webster et al, 2013) and emotional (Alborz et al, 2009) experiences of children and young people, whom they support. However, some of the literature alludes to this as not always being positive and suggests that practice of TAs can, in fact, hinder progress. However, many of these studies either did not, or only very briefly, incorporated TAs in their research. Studies related to the impact of TAs tend to focus on the views of children, parents and teachers, with few studies focussing entirely on TAs themselves. The aims of this research are to consider how TAs view their current role, how they would prefer it to look in the future, as well as considering the implications of these views for schools and Educational Psychologists (EPs). As a result of the desire to capture the voice of the TA, in order to explore curiosity around the subjectivity of the role, Q Methodology was identified as being the most appropriate method to use. Both primary and secondary TAs were invited to participate; Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA) have a different role, incorporating different responsibilities, so did not contribute. In total, 38 TAs, from four schools, participated and were presented with 64 statements relating to the role. They were asked to sort them into a pre-arranged frequency distribution, twice. The first Q sort explored their views about their current role and the second focussed on how they would like the role to look in the future. The completed Q sorts were then analysed, using factor analysis, to identify shared viewpoints. Analysis of the current role identified a two factor solution and a five factor solution emerged for the ideal role. Findings are discussed in relation to existing literature before considering how they may impact on schools and EPs. Limitations of the study are also presented prior to suggesting how these viewpoints might encourage future research and how they are to be applied in to my practice.
Supervisor: Hughes, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.C.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available