Supporting Learning In Primary Schools Essay

3816 words - 16 pages

Reflecting on the course
My role as a teaching assistant has not developed or changed in ways I would like. However, this course has taught me that teaching assistants are a key element in the provision of high-quality education. Study Topic 2, p.17 (Balshaw and Farrell 2002) suggest that, ‘Teaching assistants have often been in several jobs and learnt a variety of skills’. I support Year 1 children in both numeracy and literacy. In the morning I discuss the lesson plan with the teacher and get a clear understanding of the learning objectives. If I feel the children might find something difficult, the teacher will suggest ways I can give extra support. I get the resources ready and ...view middle of the document...

Also, it has helped me to understand the principle behind The Children’s Act (2004), which was designed with guiding principles in mind for the care and support of the children. Before working with the children, I consider their individual needs and stages of development. This ensures inclusive planning and learning. This is echoed in Study Topic 3, p.27, Vygotsky’s idea of the zone of proximal development (ZPD), the actual development level, where children learn independently and the level of potential development, where children learn with adult guidance. I also consider and apply theories, such as Rogoff (1990) who suggests six elements that are involved in scaffolding learning (Study Topic 3, p.27). Two elements I find useful are encouraging the children to develop an interest in carrying out the task and providing feedback to help them understand how they are progressing. It is mentioned in Study Topic 3, p.8, that, ‘Adults can support children in their learning by helping them make connections with what they already know’ by asking how they got their answer and support the learning at the right moment. As mentioned in Study Topic 16, p.19, ‘The NNS (DfEE,1999c) suggests that, ‘Questioning helps children to understand the meaning of words and to gain better understanding of mathematical ideas.’
As a teaching assistant, this course has taught me that it is important to identify the following aspects of my supportive role within the school. Adopting and supporting the school’s policy for Support for Learning (2007), which states, among other things that, ‘It is the school’s responsibility to help each child achieve their full potential, and that staff must provide a broad and balanced curriculum’, working as part of the learning support team, and implementing Anne Watkinson’s (2003) principles that she thinks underlie team relationships identified in Study Topic 5, p.24, all helps in my supporting role within the school. By knowing school procedures, and being familiar with our schools Health and Safety policy (2007), I can support the school effectively and be sure of the wellbeing and safety of the children. To keep me up to date with new ways that I can support children and share good practice, I attend staff meetings and relevant training where necessary and maintain good communication with teachers and other teaching assistants. I try to develop relationships to foster links between home and school. I liaise, advise and consult with other members of the team supporting the children when appropriate.
This course has taught me how important it is for children to have access to the curriculum and that they need to have the skills in literacy and numeracy in order to fully embrace and participate in learning activities in other curriculum areas. As mentioned in Study Topic 11, p.10, ‘The National Curriculum (DfEE, 1999a) sets out certain activities that primary age children should take part in,’ (see Appendix C for a...

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