Teaching Assistants thrive on adapting to suit the needs of each child and situation, with the ultimate goal of supporting pupils learning and development. This is done most effectively when teaching assistants, teaching staff and teachers work as a classroom team. Teaching assistants tackle challenges head on, work with and support the class teacher. The most effective classroom teams work collaboratively and make a huge difference to children’s lives. Here are some top tips on how TAs and class teachers can collaborate effectively.
Understanding Your Role
Traditionally your role will include supporting the teacher in undertaking duties to help free up some of their time. This includes tasks such as preparing the classroom for lessons, resource preparation and creating displays, and much more. TA roles vary in what is required. You might work on a 1 to 1 basis with students, in small groups or exclusively in SEND roles. When you first apply to your TA role, the SupplyWell team will outline the expectations and requirements, so you can move forward knowing what is expected of you.
A teaching assistant wears the hat of many other professions, from acting as the classroom police through establishing boundaries, or the hat of an entertainer building relationships with students and making sure children know they’re in a safe environment. There are many more responsibilities of a TA, which is what makes the role challenging and equally rewarding. Read our blog on what it means to be a TA to explore what it really means to be a SupplyWell TA.
The Classroom Team
The power of the classroom team can never be underestimated! Working as a cover teaching assistant means that you are spending a shorter amount of time in the role, although most TA roles are long term. Don’t worry! You will develop a positive relationship with your new colleagues in school and any class teachers that you work with. You will naturally speak to the class teacher about what kind of support they need and what your techniques are. This establishes great communication and enables you to work as an efficient and effective team. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and work out the most effective ways to collaborate.
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published their Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants report in 2021. It has some great ideas on how teachers and TAs can work collaboratively. SupplyWell recommend that you read this as it has interesting insights on being a teaching assistant and some useful recommendations to incorporate into classrooms. The EEF suggest that these are some effective strategies in working cohesively in the classroom:
Setting up the classroom in such a way that on day one, the teacher works with one group, the TA with another, and the other groups complete tasks. collaboratively or independently. Then, on day two, the adults and activities rotate, and so on through the week. In this way, all pupils receive equal time working with the teacher, the TA, each other and under their own direction.
Make teaching assistants a more visible part of teaching during their whole-class delivery; for example, by using them to scribe answers on the whiteboard, or to demonstrate equipment. This can help the teacher maintain eye contact with the class.
TAs can move around the classroom identifying pupils who are having difficulty with a particular task, and who need further help, and flagging this to the teacher.
We hope this guide has helped you with tips for effective classroom collaboration! What advice do you have for effective classroom collaboration for teachers and teaching assistants? We love hearing your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.