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M. Alexandra Da Fonte and Andrea M. Capizzi

Teachers play a vital role in the structure of their classrooms. Part of this structure is having a clear understanding of the importance of not only supporting their…

Abstract

Teachers play a vital role in the structure of their classrooms. Part of this structure is having a clear understanding of the importance of not only supporting their students, but also the teacher assistants/support staff with whom they collaborate. Providing teacher assistants/support staff with guidance, information on student needs and classroom structures, team-building strategies, training, and supervision sets the stage for a positive climate for collaboration, teamwork, and learning. Consequently, teachers should be proactive and diligent to ensure high-quality training and supervision for teacher assistants/support staff, as this will have a direct impact on the services and learning opportunities being provided to the students.

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Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Book part

Glenda Cain

Teacher assistants and support staff play a critical role in the educational outcomes of Indigenous students. Small steps are being made in ‘Closing the Gap’ in Australia…

Abstract

Teacher assistants and support staff play a critical role in the educational outcomes of Indigenous students. Small steps are being made in ‘Closing the Gap’ in Australia between Indigenous and non-Indigenous educational outcomes (Australian Government, 2013), and the trends are similar throughout other Indigenous populations. However, there is still much that needs to be done. This chapter will describe the role of teacher assistants and other support staff, and share pedagogy and practices that have been successful in engaging Indigenous students within an inclusive and responsive curriculum. The chapter will conclude with a summary of key concepts and recommendations for further research.

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Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Article

Lisa Petrides, Cynthia Jimes and Anastasia Karaglani

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the knowledge base on the ways in which assistant principals view their roles, and on the potential challenges involved in a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the knowledge base on the ways in which assistant principals view their roles, and on the potential challenges involved in a distributed leadership model.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed a narrative capture method, in which assistant principals from two large urban school districts were asked to relate and self-interpret two leadership stories through a web-based narrative capture form. A total of 90 stories were collected from 45 assistant principals. Participants rated their stories based on a set of leadership indicators (including method of decision making and type of teacher interaction present in the story, among others); the results were analyzed statistically.

Findings

Overall, participants tended to view their roles in terms of instructionally focussed leadership. However, leadership challenges emerged in several areas of leadership practice, including operational management and teacher professional development (PD). Demographic factors were found to influence leadership perceptions and practices.

Research limitations/implications

This study begins to fill the empirical gap on assistant principal leadership roles, practices, and perceptions. Further research, using other methods (e.g. observation), is needed to collect evidence of in situ leadership practices of assistant principals, and how those practices impact and relate to school objectives for teaching and learning.

Practical implications

The study sheds light on the leadership development needs of assistant principals and on the importance of ongoing, tailored PD, based on factors including where leaders are in their careers and how they envision their roles.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to nascent scholarship regarding assistant principal school leadership.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 52 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article

Chen Schechter and Niv Feldman

The notion of organizational learning (OL) has reached the forefront of both school change discourse and academic inquiry. However, this notion has not yet undergone…

Abstract

Purpose

The notion of organizational learning (OL) has reached the forefront of both school change discourse and academic inquiry. However, this notion has not yet undergone deliberate thinking and research within the special education domain. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap in the literature by empirically investigating OL through a structural concept – organizational learning mechanisms (OLMs) – as embedded into the learning values (culture) of special education.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of three student's functioning levels (low, intermediate, and high) in a special education school provided the context for studying OLMs and the learning values (culture) influencing their productivity.

Findings

This paper supports the existence of and the capacity for systematic learning through institutionalized structures and procedures in a special education school. This paper also illuminates the effect of learning values (culture) on the effectiveness of OLMs in a special education school.

Research limitations/implications

Generalizing from this case study (a special education school comprising three levels of student functioning) is quite problematic. However, this paper supports the merit of empirically researching OL in special education schools through the structural‐cultural framework.

Originality/value

This paper provides a useful conceptual and empirical framework to evaluate special education schools as learning organizations.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 48 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article

Kaija L. Zusevics, Melissa A. Lemke, Amy E. Harley and Paul Florsheim

Milwaukee has very high rates of risky sexual behavior and low rates of academic achievement among adolescents. Milwaukee school representatives partnered with researchers…

Abstract

Purpose

Milwaukee has very high rates of risky sexual behavior and low rates of academic achievement among adolescents. Milwaukee school representatives partnered with researchers to create and implement an innovative project‐based learning (PBL) high school health curriculum to engage students in school. This health education program, Project Health (PH), aimed to engage Milwaukee Public Schools high school students, by PBL, into the urban health classroom. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the curriculum on student engagement and document the process of implementing this program, in order to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas of needed improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

Student engagement was measured with an 18‐item scale at three time points in intervention and control schools. Attendance data were collected by tracking the number of days students were absent from school the semester the curriculum was implemented. Analysis of covariance was used to test whether students in PH classes were more engaged and if they had fewer absences than students in the control classes. The process evaluation included interviews with teachers, focus groups with high school students, and focus groups with teaching assistants. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis to extract key themes and categories across all data.

Findings

Students in the intervention health class were significantly less absent from school than control students. However, they were not more engaged than their peers in control schools as measured by a student engagement scale. Various components of the PBL teaching approach used in the Project Health high school curriculum were viewed as positive by health educators, students, and teaching assistants. Results indicate that PBL used in health education may increase school attendance.

Originality/value

This study was original in that it documented how a novel health education program that incorporated PBL can positively impact urban students’ school attendance. It also highlighted the process of implementing this program from the vantage point of students, assistants, and health education.

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Book part

Dianne Chambers

Increasing numbers of support staff are employed in schools to provide services for students identified as requiring extra support. The roles of these staff have changed…

Abstract

Increasing numbers of support staff are employed in schools to provide services for students identified as requiring extra support. The roles of these staff have changed as a result of a variety of factors, foremost the increased inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream settings. Compounding this increase is a re-evaluation of roles of staff in schools, shortages of qualified special education teachers, an increasing requirement of teachers to complete large quantities of administrative tasks, including paperwork (Lee, 2003), and the use of support staff, particularly teacher assistants (TAs) to relieve some of the work of teachers (Webster et al., 2010). This chapter will examine these factors and explore the resulting changes in roles and considerations for teachers when working with support staff.

Details

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Book part

Paul A. Bartolo

School Psychologists (SPs) have usually been associated with supporting educators in meeting the needs of students with socio-emotional and learning difficulties and…

Abstract

School Psychologists (SPs) have usually been associated with supporting educators in meeting the needs of students with socio-emotional and learning difficulties and disabilities. This chapter suggests that they can support teacher assistants and other educators within inclusive settings in many other ways too. It highlights that SPs are generally trained in holistic student development and group dynamics, in learning, teaching and assessment processes, and in bringing about individual and social change. The whole chapter is based on the idea that inclusion is a concern for all students and therefore also for all school staff. Teacher assistants in inclusive schools are regarded as part of a commitment of the whole school to adapt its curriculum, the organisation of learning and teaching, and the grouping of students so that each one can be actively engaged in the regular learning and social activities of the school.

Thus SPs can be called to support not only the engagement of an individual student but also to help make the class and school welcoming learning communities for all.

Details

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Book part

Derek Hurrell and Lorraine Day

This chapter looks at two stories from visiting teachers/consultants in settings that were extremely diverse; one situated in a remote community with indigenous students…

Abstract

This chapter looks at two stories from visiting teachers/consultants in settings that were extremely diverse; one situated in a remote community with indigenous students in Western Australia, and the other in suburban schools in two capital cities in Australia. Even though the settings and experiences of the visiting teachers/consultants varied greatly, several themes around working with teachers and teacher assistants in inclusive education emerged. As the visiting teachers/consultants were invited into many schools they had the opportunity to view practices in a range of settings. They came with few preconceived ideas about the constraints of particular workplaces and consequently were in a position to offer objective and pragmatic advice. The visiting teachers/consultants found that they were in a position to foster relationships between teachers and teacher assistants that led to practices which had the potential to improve educational outcomes for the students in the schools.

Details

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Book part

Dianne Chambers and Richard G. Berlach

This chapter focuses on the increasing use of both assistive technology (AT) and teacher assistants (TAs) to support students with disabilities within the inclusive…

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the increasing use of both assistive technology (AT) and teacher assistants (TAs) to support students with disabilities within the inclusive classroom, and why it is vital that teacher assistants have appropriate training in the area of AT. A description of assistive technology and its role in inclusion of students with special needs is provided along with a description of training in assistive technology that was undertaken with teacher assistants. Implications for training and support of teacher assistants in the area of assistive technology are also discussed.

Details

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Book part

Denise J. Uitto and Ritu V. Chopra

Training, particularly in the form of comprehensive professional development, continues to be a need for paraeducators (also known as teacher assistants). Training needs…

Abstract

Training, particularly in the form of comprehensive professional development, continues to be a need for paraeducators (also known as teacher assistants). Training needs begin with an initial set of knowledge and skills and is built based upon the paraeducator’s role with individual students and the educational settings. Standards or guidance documents are available from a few individual states within the United States, higher education systems, and professional organizations that serve individuals with exceptional needs and agencies. An international professional organization, Council for Exceptional Children [CEC] (2011), identified a common skill set that reinforces standards for defining curricula when providing training to paraeducators. Key to their ongoing professional development is the on-the-job coaching by the education professional (teacher), to support the application of skills into the inclusive setting. Various forms of professional development are available including online trainings in addition to face-to-face.

Details

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

Keywords

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