What is the teacher’s assistants role in the classroom?
Not only do schools have to follow the Equality Act, but also the SEND Code of Practice. This describes different principles that all professionals should follow when working with children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities. It ensures a variety of different things, some of these include allowing both the child and their family to be part of decision makings. To work together and collaborate with other professionals and making high quality provision to meet the needs of the individual. For most, teaching children with special educational needs in mainstream schools is the increasingly preferred option as it provides equality and allows these children to receive the same high-quality education provided by appropriately trained teachers. In the action plan, a teaching assistant was used to work with the child with special educational needs. However, some research suggests that this is not beneficial. Teaching assistants are rarely adequately trained and prepared to work with children with special educational needs, and although they are not to blame there is research to suggest that there is a negative relationship between the level of support provided by teaching assistants and achievement in the core academic subjects. Vygotsky suggested that children develop higher mental functions such as thinking and reasoning through social interaction. However, for it to be effective it must lie within the child’s ‘zone of proximal development’ this is what they can do on their own and what they can do with the help of more capable others. Some suggest that teaching assistants can often ask lower quality questions to those of the teacher and they can reduce children’s independence by providing the answers. Therefore, going against Vygotsky’s theory and instead of assisting the child’s development through help, they instead just provide the answers for them having a detrimental effect on their learning.