How you take note of children and young people’s responses to your own practice
It is extremely important to take note of children and young people’s responses to your own practices as by doing this you –
•Can ensure learning activities are effective in the pupils learning
•Can recognise the pupils abilities and identify strengths and weaknesses
•Can reflect on how effective the delivery methods were
•Can identify if anything needs to be altered for next time
Things I monitor during lessons or learning activities –
•Children who are putting their hands up to answer questions •Children who are not contributing much to the lesson (not putting hands up/if working in a group not offering suggestions) •Children who seem to be lacking concentration/not showing much interest/not staying on task •Children who are behaving differently (maybe because they do not understand the work or are finding it too easy) •Children who do not seem to understand the work as much as others or are finding the work particularly difficult (I find this out by checking over their work/answers and by asking them questions about the work/task)
I personally always take notes during lessons and activities and always give feedback to the teacher either formally or informally.
Below are some of the other ways we review learning activities –
•Letting children feedback (asking them to traffic light their work)
•Pupil’s learning journal – literacy, numeracy, targets
•Previous progress – read reports, reviews
•Ask pupil to explain how they achieved the learning objective
•Writing comments on lesson plan, report card, reading diary •Termly assessments
•Marking work and writing comments
The importance of continuing professional development
There are many things you can do to continually develop professionally, these include:
•Do your research to ensure you are kept up to date on new teaching methods, resources and legislation
•Work based training
•Participate in further training/courses such as first aid, ICT and SEN training
•Regularly observe your peers
•Ask others for help and advice
Continual professional development is extremely important for the following reasons –
•It helps you to understand your role more effectively
•To apply new policies and procedures
•To upgrade and enhance your knowledge
•To enable you to become confident in your job role
•It enhances and promotes good team work
•To keep up to date with any changes in legislation
•To improve the quality of the teaching environment, pupil learning and achievement
•To ensure you are working to the best of your ability
•To share good practice relating to different teaching methods
•To ensure there is a good standard of work in the workplace and standards are kept high and do not slip
•To ensure that as individuals we have personal goals and also the skills that need updating for our job
Why teamwork is important in schools
T – Together
E – Everyone
A – Achieves
M – More
The ability to work together with others as part of a team is a vital skill used in all areas of life. Teamwork requires people to work cooperatively with others towards a shared purpose or goal. For a team to work together effectively, it takes all members of the team to respect each other’s abilities and opinions. Teamwork is a highly social activity and involves much interaction and exchanging of ideas and actions.
Below are some examples of why team work is so important in schools-
•Effective communication is a key element needed to meet the needs of children •By communicating with each other and working in a team you can ensure that you do not miss any vital information •It creates a positive and safe environment for both pupils and staff •It sets an excellent example to pupils
•It creates a good working environment and community for staff and pupil
•It helps ensure that all goals and objectives are being met
•It helps raise moral and create a positive atmosphere
•It ensures that the schools aims, values and mission statement are carried out
•It promotes consistency throughout the school
•It helps build confidence
•Enables you to share good practices and ideas
•It helps ensure that the work load is being shared and completed effectively
•It ensures children are getting the most out of their learning experience
•It helps create a conflict free environment
•It means that constant support and advice is available
The purpose and objectives of the team in which they work
Princethorpe Junior Schools mission statement –
“Our vision for the school is to create a successful, caring school in which everyone can achieve to the best of their ability.”
It is important that every school demonstrates and upholds their aims and values. Princethorpe Junior School have a set of aims for all staff and pupils to follow that support their mission statement.
General Aims –
•At Princethorpe Junior School we aim to provide a safe, secure and happy environment in which all our children can develop and learn. •We aim to create a bright and stimulating environment in the classrooms and around the school. •We aim to help all our children to achieve their full academic, artistic and physical potential. •We aim to enable all our children to have access to all aspects of school life. •We aim to promote harmony and understanding of each individual in an environment where all the children are encouraged to flourish whatever their race, gender or ability. •We aim to develop a partnership with parents and the community and encourage all parents to share in the education of their children and to feel welcome in the school.
•We aim to provide for all the children a broad and balanced curriculum with a strong emphasis on the development of numeracy and literacy •We aim to develop our own policies and schemes of work in line with the National Curriculum and the Religious Education agreed syllabus, through a wide range of learning activities. •We aim to equip our children with the necessary ICT skills to support their learning across the curriculum. •We aim to provide opportunities for additional activities, which enrich the curriculum e.g. educational visits, clubs and visitors to school. •We aim to equip our children with the knowledge, skills and understanding required for the next phase of their education.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural –
•Through our Collective Acts of Worship we aim to equip all our children with an understanding of differing faiths with the greatest emphasis on Christianity. •Through Religious Education and the curriculum we aim to foster a sense of awe and wonder. •We aim to value everyone by developing each person’s self-esteem and sense of individual worth. •We aim to teach our children to know the difference between right and wrong, to be honest and to have respect for adults, each other and the environment. •We aim to develop the children’s awareness of their responsibility to and for their school and the local community.
•We aim to help the children to take their part as responsible citizens. •We aim to enable our pupils to co-operate, to work together, to take turns and to share. •We aim to develop the children’s ability to think about others as well as themselves. •Through our curriculum and school life we aim to develop knowledge and understanding of other cultures and traditions. •We aim through music, art, literature and creative work, to contribute to the cultural development of the children.
•We aim to equip our children with the skills to be responsible for their own actions and to develop a strong sense of self-discipline. •We aim to provide positive attitudes throughout the school for work and behaviour. •We aim to provide a positive system of rewards and sanctions. •We aim to work in partnership with parents to maintain the behaviour policy of the school.
Below are examples of how Princethorpe Junior School uphold these aims and therefore support the mission statement –
“We aim to value everyone by developing each person’s self-esteem and sense of individual worth”
•All staff members ensure to always offer praise and rewards whenever a child participates in an activity or really tries hard at the work. •Every child is acknowledged, the Head Teacher makes a conscience effort to learn every new child’s name at the start of the year and also stands at the front door every morning greeting each child with a ‘Good Morning’ •All children are encouraged to have confidence in themselves, the TAs are on hand to ensure this is the case in every lesson with giving the children constant reminders to “have confidence in yourself” •Children are issued certificates and awards for certain achievements for example spellings, reading, writing, attendance and good behaviour “We aim to develop a partnership with parents and the community and encourage all parents to share in the education of their children and to feel welcome in the school.”
•Princethorpe Junior School tries to involve parents in their child’s school life as much as possible for example – Parents are daily invited to join their children at breakfast club Parents are regularly given opportunities to volunteer on school trips All parents are invited to a ‘celebration assembly’ every Friday where children receive certificates and awards for various achievements •The School holds regular curriculum meetings and workshops for parents, both during and after school, to consult, inform and discuss curricular issues. •Each year group organises family workshops during the year so that parents can work alongside their children in class. Various courses are also organised for parents.
•Termly parent’s evenings are held so parents and carers can be updated on their children’s progress. •Parents are always welcome to chat to a member of school staff, without an appointment, about any worries or concerns they may have before or after school. The Head Teacher operates an ‘open door’ policy to enable parents to come and speak to her anytime she is free •A school newsletter is sent home with children every Friday updating parents on the week’s activities, reminder of term dates and weekly attendance and behavioural reports •Parents are made aware of any behavioural issues their child may be having and together with the parents either the Head Teacher, Teacher, Teaching Assistant and/or Pastoral Care Worker can then work together to resolve these issues.
“Through our curriculum and school life we aim to develop knowledge and understanding of other cultures and traditions”
•Children are taught about different cultures and religions by termly topics being held on different countries, cultures and religions •There are regular assemblies about different countries, cultures and religions •A variety of different festivals and events are acknowledged and celebrated in school •Alternative food options are always available during breakfast club tuck and lunch such as halal meat and vegetarian and vegan options to ensure all children are made to feel included and welcome
“We aim to equip our children with the necessary ICT skills to support their learning across the curriculum”
•Each room is equipped with an interactive whiteboard which is used during most lessons •Every child has a personal computer login that enables them to logon to a school computer to access its programs and any saved work •Princethorpe Junior School have an ‘ICT suite’ where there are enough computers for a class of 32, classes are on a rota to use this room and every class will use this rooms and its facilities at least once a week •The school also has 35 laptops which are again shared out on a rota based system •Princethrope Junior School has invested in EducationCity.com’ an internet based program that creates new ways of delivering curriculum content. Children are set homework on this site which they have the option of accessing at home or at school.
“We aim to equip our children with the skills to be responsible for their own actions and to develop a strong sense of self-discipline”
•Children are taught the difference between right and wrong •All children are constantly made aware that they are responsible for their own actions and that their actions will have consequences – either with a sanction or reward. For example if a child does not complete their homework on time they will receive a detention, whereas all the children who do hand their homework in on time will receive a sticker •Children are given opportunities to work independently and make their own decisions
“We aim to enable our pupils to co-operate, to work together, to take turns and to share”
•Certain lessons and activities require the children to work in pairs or groups with the teacher and TA ensuring the same children are not always working together •Playground toys and games that require children to share and play together such as building blocks, skipping ropes, footballs and bat and balls are provided for children during break times. •The school offers many different after school activities such as after school clubs, sports matches and the choir which gives children from different classes and year groups chance to work and play together •Teachers and pupil support staff are always on hand to monitor the children and to help children work out any friendship issues they may be having
Own role and responsibilities and those in the team
Working in a primary school as a Teaching Assistant I work alongside a class teacher during guiding reading, maths, literacy, art, ICT and listen and respond lessons. The role of the Primary school teacher is to work with children between the ages of 4 and 11 years. They are responsible for teaching either a number of, or every, area of the National Curriculum, this will most likely mean covering Key Stage 1 (5 – 7 years) and Key Stage 2 (7 – 11 years).
Key responsibilities as a primary teacher –
•Ensuring the optimal development of children, both socially and academically. •Preparation and delivery of lessons that cater to the wide ranging abilities of the class. •Instill interest to learn, through enthusiastic and motivating presentation of lessons. •Recording and monitoring student progression.
•Meeting with carers/parents giving feedback regarding child’s performance. •Organising activities, classroom displays and class trips •Ensuring the curriculum is covered and up to date.
•Prepare pupils for secondary education and examinations.
As part of my role as a Teaching Assistant I am required to support the class teacher with the planning, delivery and evaluation of all learning activities.
Whether the learning activity is for an individual pupil, group of pupils or the whole class, all activities must be properly planned, delivered and evaluated in order to work effectively. Planning is usually the first step when organizing a learning activity. Planning is important for the following reasons –
•To understand learning objectives and what needs to be achieved by the end of the lesson
•To identify children’s individual needs
•To identify different teaching methods
•To review feedback from previous lesson
•To ensure health and safety is met – Complete risk assessments
•To ensure you are organised and can allocate enough time for each task
Every teacher completes the class planning for the week before school starts on a Monday morning. The teacher will then give a copy of the planning to the class TA. The planning will include the expectations and learning objectives of each lesson, resources needed, if any children need any extra support and how they require the TA to support during each lesson.
After I have this information I then have my own planning responsibilities as a Teaching Assistant, these involve the following –
•Look over previous observations
•Ensure all learning resources are ready for use – photocopying, workbooks, stationary, laptops, etc. •Find out children’s individual needs and prepare different resources to aid them – white boards, enlarged worksheets, etc. •Organise seating plans – are there any children that may need to be moved – disruptive, easily distracted, hearing or sight difficulties •Prepare extra work for any children who may finish early •Think of key questions to ask to support the children during the lesson •Feedback to teacher on what you think of the planning, is there anything you could add or change
Whether it is myself delivering the learning activity or a teacher I am supporting, it is always important to remember and follow the below every time –
•Explain to the pupils the expectations and what they need to do •Ask questions and observe their reactions, ensure they understand, if they are struggling to understand find other ways to explain/demonstrate/simplify/step by step instructions/adapt lesson plan to child’s needs ensuring it still meets the lessons outcome •Give praise and encouragement
•Rewards – follow schools procedure with giving rewards; let pupils know what rewards they will receive •Give one to one support where needed
•Ensure you are using appropriate body language and eye contact •Give good balance of support and letting pupil work on their own •Encourage independence
•Using sanctions when needed – moving children if necessary •Using the right teaching methods with the different ability children •Keep pupils interested and motivated
•Re-enforce timing to children e.g. with projects and learning objectives •Take notes on children’s understanding, what is working well, what isn’t, etc.
It is always important to review every learning activity as this will help plan for the next time. Whether it be having a formal review of a learning activity or an informal chat it is important as a Teaching Assistant to discuss the following with the Teacher –
•How the teacher felt with your support?
•Did the children achieve the learning objective in the given time?
•Were there any learning needs you picked up (who struggled? who finished early? who asked questions?)
•Were the resources useful?
•The overall enjoyment of the lesson
•Did resources suit learning activity?
•Is there anything you would have changed or can improve next time?
•Did anything work particular well?
•Were there any issue that you need to report to SDP/SENCO?
The importance of respecting the skills and expertise of other practitioners
It is important to always respect the skills and expertise of other practitioners for the following reasons –
•It can help us to develop as professionals because we can learn from others •Their expertise can provide career aspirations to others •To ensure the pupils wellbeing is promoted and we have the knowledge and understanding to provide them with the best education •By not respecting other practitioners you are effectively undermining them which will result in having a negative effect on the pupils and overall will not be promoting good team work •Those practitioners are there for a reason; they have the skills, knowledge and know the strategies that work •It means the work load is shared effectively and fairly resulting in everyone’s job being made easier •It ensures consistency in practice
•It promotes good working relationships
•It creates a positive working environment
•It helps children reach their full potential
How you respond to differences of opinion and conflict constructively
When working in a professional role as a Teaching Assistant, it is important to consider how you can improve your own practice effectively to meet the needs of the children or young people you support and the team you work with. You will be responsible for meeting your own continuing professional development needs.
Continuing professional development (CPD) or Continuing professional education (CPE) is the means by which people maintain their knowledge and skills related to their professional lives.
CPD will affect you as a member of the team in your workplace for the following reasons-
•You and your team will be confident with personal job roles, skills and abilities. •As a team you will be able to help each other with your own CPD as constant support and advice is on hand from other team members •It ensures everyone is working to the best of their ability and therefore creates a stronger team
As a TA at least once a year you will have a ‘Performance Management Review’, this may be with the Head Teacher or your team leader. This review offers you the following-
•An opportunity to reflect and to review your progress and development •An opportunity to ask yourself and your team leader ‘How am I doing?’ •An opportunity to consider and celebrate your role in raising standards and in meeting the targets in the departmental action plan •An opportunity to consider where you are going in your career •A discussion about any areas for development
•An opportunity to set targets
•An opportunity to identify any training needs
•A forum to provide information for management
•An opportunity to look back at your previous review and decide if targets have been met •An opportunity to set new targets and goals for the following year
There will be times when there is conflict in the workplace, when this happens it is important to recognise why conflict may arise and how you should resolve issues.
Below are some examples of conflict in the workplace –
•Not listening to what the other person has to say
•Not sharing the work load fairly
•Taking advantage of the good nature of others
•Not working to the best of your ability
•Not working to high standards
•Not offering the necessary support and advice to others
•Not being thoughtful and considerate to other’s ideas, opinions and beliefs •Not asking for help when needed
Scenario: You were asked to plan and prepare an activity for the phonics group that you support. The activity you came up with was fun, eye-catching and included the whole group. When you came to use it with the group, the activity worked really well and, at the end of the lesson, you felt the children had worked hard, even though they became very excited and got quite loud. However, a Teaching Assistant who was supporting another group has since told you that you were not in control and should have training in how to assert yourself.
Was the other TA correct to tell you this?
Yes, I believe they were but I believe that they should have gone about it in a different way. When working with children it is important that the staff work as a team and offer each other help and advice when necessary but it is also important to be tactful in doing so.
Who should you discuss this with and will you ask for help, knowing that you do struggle to gain control?
I would let the TA know that I do appreciate their feedback and agree that I did struggle at times to keep my group under control, however overall I was pleased with the activity and felt the children achieved the learning objective of the task. I would also ask if they have any techniques they use to help keep children quiet and calm during activities. I would also speak to the teacher to find out how they felt the activity went and if they had any advice on what I could do differently next time.
Courtney from Study Moose
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