1.1 Describe the duties and responsibilities of own work role. As a Teaching Assistant my main responsibility is to create a safe, happy, positive, stimulating and multicultural learning environment in which children can be cared for.
My main duties are listed below:
To work as an integral member of the team, creating a safe, constructive and stimulating environment for the children. To meet the children’s individual needs, appropriate to their stage and level of development. To be involved in the setting up and clearing away at the start and end of each session as required. To be involved with the planning of activities.
To support literacy and numeracy activities in the classroom. To foster children’s growth of development and self reliance, and to be involved in children’s activities with a view to supporting and extending these activities appropriately. To ensure that toys and equipment are maintained, clean and safe to play with or use. To understand and comply with the Fire Drill Practise.
To attend and take part in staff and other relevant meetings. To keep a daily register, first aid box and other relevant records as required. To communicate with parents and carers in a positive, constructive manner. To make time available on a regular basis to discuss the day to day running of the setting with other members of staff. Observing pupil performance and reporting on observations to the teacher Listening to pupils read, reading to them, and telling them stories.
I also feel that as an individual I am able to communicate well with children and adults and actually enjoy doing this and hopefully inject a bit of humour into work. Often I am left to decide how or what to do with children as the teacher is tied up doing other things. This means I must use my own initiative and get on with the task in hand. I am able to do this without a problem. I realise I must always be busy and if this means straightening the books in the book corner or sharpening pencils then this is what I do. I am aware I am expected to follow all the schools policies and procedures and so I have a copy of them all and have read them all. An important policy is of course confidentiality. Everything that happens in the school must remain there – I am not to discuss children school records and background with any outsiders. I am a good listener too and feel I have a sympathetic nature however I also realise I need to be firm but fair. Boundaries are important to children and must be made clear.
1.2 Explain expectation about own work role as expresses in relevant standards.
Each work role has its own set of standards the expectations I was given by my class teacher included being reliable and able to build good relationships with children and parent carers, encouraging play whilst learning, and by having children’s best interests e.g. physical activities, outings, this would help them to enjoy their growth in knowledge and assist in enhancing their development as a whole. Also I was expected to work as a team with other staff members and parent/carers in order to support the children to promote the children’s initial learning so that the children could feel confident and would be able to boost up their self-esteem. I was also expected to supervise the children which meant following the Child Protection Act and health and safety policy. Children must always be watched closely to prevent and reduce the severity of injury to children.
Children often challenge their own abilities but are not always able to recognise the risks involved. As a Teaching Assistant I need to supervise children and identify any risks and minimise injury. The National Occupational Standards for Teaching Assistant offers guidance on the wider aspects of competent performance. It also forms the basis for the NAPTA (National Association of Professional Teaching Assistants) Profiles, which many schools now expect their Teaching Assistants to complete. The Support Work in Schools qualifications at levels 2 and 3 are also based on the National Occupational Standards. Dfe and Ofsted are examples of other models of performance which are accessible to assistants.
2.1 Explain the importance of reflective practice in continuously improving the quality of service provided. Reflective practice is one of the tools which can be used by Early Years Professionals to fulfill their role as ‘change agent’, which is at the heart of the Early Years Professional Status (CWDC, 2008). By structured reflection on current practice the EYP can identify what change is valuable, worthwhile and improving. As part of our job role it is important to carry out reflective practice especially because we work with children/young people and our effectiveness will have an impact on them and their learning. Reflective practice means thinking about and evaluating what you do and discussing any changes which could be made. This means focusing on how we interact with colleagues, children and the environment.
It means thinking about how we could have done something differently, what we did well, what we could have done better. How we can improve what we have done. It also means reflecting our own values, beliefs and experiences which shape our thoughts and ideas. This will allow us to obtain a clearer picture of our own behaviour and a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses- so that we can learn from our own mistakes and take appropriate future actions. I am always trying to improve the quality of my performance and by using reflective practice it allows me to look objectively at my work and figure out how I can improve on it. Reflective practice allows me to support the children better and better- if I have any concerns about how the session went I can look back and work out what more I could have done. I may have used one resource and found it useful and then choose it again with another child. It helps to have something to aim for, it helps with job satisfaction.
2.2 Demonstrate the ability to reflect on practice.
From experience reflection on my own practice has given me opportunities to improve greatly on the task next time. It doesn’t mean that I was “wrong” to begin with it just means that the good parts of the task can be made even better. It really is about striving to improve on what was done. I am in the fortunate position to have a mentor who is excellent at tweaking my tasks and highlighting how I could improve on them. The first day I worked as a TA I was placed in a Reception class where I was to split children into three groups. One group went to play in the sandpit, another outside on the tricycles and the last group were sent to paint. All the children were happy and content however the painting group became bored very quickly. I soon realised I hadn’t guided the children in any way. When I suggested painting a family member suddenly their interest came back and they were intent on finishing their family portrait before venturing into the sandpit.
I realised on reflection that such young children needed direction and instruction in order to maintain their attention on something. I should have done this at the outset but didn’t. This is an example of reflective practice from my very first day in a classroom. This is just one example and as a TA I can honestly say that there is more than one example a day which reinforces what an important thing reflective practice is. I fortunately work in a school that are big into reflective practice and so it isn’t difficult to approach staff if a method of teaching isn’t working well. Very often learning methods need to be tweaked for the individual also.
I have often worked with a group who all but one found the task manageable. For that particular child I had to change part of my instruction in order to help with the way they were able to learn. For example one of my children finds that by moving about and learning by touching things helps him to understand concepts being taught to him. I recently changed a counting task to suit him whereby I asked him to count chair legs round a table. The others were happy working with units and an abacus. I now realise that I have developed all my learning strategies through reflective practice.
2.3 Describe how own values, belief systems and experiences may affect working practice. Reflection can be difficult when your own attitudes and beliefs may differ from others. It is important to not let your own attitudes and beliefs affect your work role and to maintain your professionalism at all times. I have tried to look at what I value and consider and how my own beliefs / experiences could affect the way I work below:
My family structure, its culture and origin will differ from others. I have parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. I can’t imagine life as an only child. My parenting techniques and parenting I received will differ from those around me. I may not agree with how children are punished at home however I am in no way expected to pass judgement to the children.
Two children in the class I assist in are not able to be involved in Christmas activities of any sort due to their religious beliefs. At Christmas they were unable to decorate stars and make tree decorations or join in with the nativity and Christmas meal. I sat and made different things with them and kept them entertained during rehearsals however I did feel sorry for them as both wanted to join in with their friends. It was important that I didn’t show my feelings to them though as this would of been very wrong. Other people may struggle with those who have different diet and lifestyles e.g. veganism, vegetarianism. Marriage, war, immigration and emigration are other areas people may have opinions on along with trafficking, smacking, smoking, drinking, unemployment and employment.
3.1 Evaluate own knowledge, performance and understanding against relevant standards. This is about reflecting on and evaluating honestly my own performance, and discovering ways to improve it through skills development. This requires me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and to try to find out what information and support is available to help me develop a plan covering my own personal and professional aspirations, and then put those plans into action.
As I mentioned earlier, I monitor my performance regularly to make sure that it is as effective as possible. I luckily get regular and useful feedback on my performance from my class teacher. I usually log where I need to make any improvements so it is clear next time I come to do the task where to make the relevant changes. Recently due to new recommendations the school has needed to change the marking system. We now put a circle not a cross next to incorrect work. Any changes I need to be aware of for my teaching practice.