Building Foundations for Para-professionalism


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Professional Development for Teaching Assistants

In Wales.

The Foundation Degree in Learning Support. SMU

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Building Foundations for Para-professionalism

  1. 1. Ann Birch Jill Morgan Building Foundations for Para-professionalism
  2. 2. Introductions Who are we? Ann Birch Jill Morgan Who are you?
  3. 3. What are we talking about today? Professional Development for Teaching Assistants In Wales. The Foundation Degree in Learning Support. SMU.
  4. 4. What will we look at? <ul><li>The experience </li></ul><ul><li>The context </li></ul><ul><li>The programme </li></ul><ul><li>The students </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of reflection and </li></ul><ul><li>critical reflection </li></ul><ul><li>The lessons learnt </li></ul><ul><li>The way forward </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Experience – Fantastic!!! How can we best describe it? A privilege! A learning curve! Enlightening! Stimulating! Emotional! Humbling!
  6. 6. The Context <ul><li>Workforce remodelling - TA role currently </li></ul><ul><li>under scrutiny and changing – more expert </li></ul><ul><li>roles </li></ul><ul><li>Significant responsibility as members of </li></ul><ul><li>learning and teaching teams - 4 levels of </li></ul><ul><li>working </li></ul><ul><li>CPD – historic and current </li></ul>
  7. 7. Workforce Remodelling <ul><li>Rationale: </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher workload – PPA time </li></ul><ul><li>Raising standards </li></ul><ul><li>Impact: </li></ul><ul><li>4 levels of working </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on TAs supporting learning </li></ul><ul><li>TAs covering for teachers – implications? </li></ul><ul><li>Supervision and dynamics </li></ul>
  8. 8. CPD Continuing Professional Development <ul><li>Few TAs have formal qualifications–many </li></ul><ul><li>have a wealth of experience and expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Induction programmes? LEA, school? </li></ul><ul><li>Vocational programmes (NVQ) </li></ul><ul><li>HE Programmes - Foundation Degrees </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers and TAs working together- the dynamics </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Dynamics! 1.12 The School of Education acknowledges the need for the programme to reflect the need to preserve the status of teachers and their lead role in promoting high standards of achievement. (Extract from Definitive Validation Document)
  10. 10. The Programme What is a foundation degree? The foundation degree, “provides a new model of vocational higher education based on close collaboration between employers and providers of higher education. It aims to widen and increase participation in higher education by delivering knowledge and skills needed for employment by the application of work-based and flexible modes of learning.” QAA. (2002)
  11. 11. The Foundation Degree in Learning Support <ul><li>Aims – General and specific </li></ul><ul><li>Levels – within the UK single framework </li></ul><ul><li>Structure and timescale – The modules </li></ul>
  12. 12. Aims General Aim The programme aims to rigorously educate students, facilitating their professional and academic development. In so doing, it aims to prepare them to become active, contributors to, and effective, incisive members of, the professional, evolving school team within which they work. The purpose of the programme is not to detach theory from practice but to enable theory to inform practice.
  13. 13. Subsequently, specific aims include: 1. The facilitation of the professional development of students with particular regard for: Professional values and practice Knowledge and understanding Teaching and learning activities including planning and expectations; monitoring and assessment; teaching and learning activities as described in the Professional Standards for Higher Level teaching assistants (Welsh Assembly Government. 2003. p. 30) ( Appendix 2)
  14. 14. Aims (Cont’d) ii) the consolidation of participants’ Key Skills: Communication; Application of number; ICT and development of participants’ Wider Key Skills: Working with others; Improving own learning and performance; problem solving
  15. 15. Aims (Cont’d) <ul><li>Critical reflection on their classroom </li></ul><ul><li>experience </li></ul><ul><li>iv) the capitalisation of the learning opportunities …to optimise participants’ team working skills and philosophy by consolidating the practice of collaboration with colleagues in their schools </li></ul>
  16. 16. Aims (Last but not least!) v) to extend participants academically by encouraging the use of literature, research evidence and documents relating to professional practice and to promote their education at HE level
  17. 17. Entry, HE Levels and Progression <ul><li>The programme operates at Levels 4 and 5 </li></ul><ul><li>of the National Single Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Entry qualifications – Level 3 but… </li></ul><ul><li>Progression – Top up to a full Honours </li></ul><ul><li>Degree </li></ul>
  18. 18. Timescale Three years (part time) Can take up to five years due to part time nature of the programme
  19. 19. The Modules <ul><li>Year 1 </li></ul><ul><li>1.1 Study Skills and Methods of Enquiry </li></ul><ul><li>1.2 Managing Behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>1.3 Managing Behaviour in the Classroom (Work- Based) </li></ul><ul><li>1.4 How Children Learn </li></ul><ul><li>1.5 Investigating Children’s Learning Work-Based </li></ul><ul><li>1.6 The Learning Cycle </li></ul>
  20. 20. Year 2 Modules Supporting Children’s Learning – 2.1 Language Acquisition and Literacy 2.2 Language Acquisition and Literacy Work-Based 2.3 ICT 2.4 ICT in the Classroom Work-Based 2.5 Numeracy 2.6 Science and Technology
  21. 21. Year 3 Modules 3.1 Research in Action 3.2 Action Research (Work-Based) 3.3 Introduction to Psychology 3.4 Leading the Learning 3.5 Inclusion and Diversity in Schools 3.6 Investigating Inclusion and Diversity in Schools (Work-Based)
  22. 22. Rationale for Structure <ul><li>The modules: </li></ul><ul><li>facilitate the acquisition of skills necessary for studying at higher education levels 4 and 5 early in the sequence (module 1.1) </li></ul><ul><li>acknowledge the importance of behaviour management strategies for teaching assistants in their changing role, as articulated by head teachers and other programme team members (module 1.2 and 1.3) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Structure (Cont’d) <ul><li>deliver related modules consecutively, focussing initially on academic and theoretical issues that are researched in context within the subsequent work-based module. (e.g. module 1.4 How Children Learn followed immediately by 1.5. Investigating Children’s Learning - Work-based) </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Teaching Strategies <ul><li>Facilitation of learning experiences </li></ul><ul><li>“ Talk for Thought” </li></ul><ul><li>Modelling strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking Skills </li></ul>
  25. 25. Assessment Tasks <ul><li>Word counts – (or equivalence!) </li></ul><ul><li>Variety is the spice of life! </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolios </li></ul><ul><li>Information Wall </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study </li></ul><ul><li>Poster Presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Lesson observation </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioner Research </li></ul>
  26. 26. Poster Presentation
  27. 27. The Information Wall Learning and Assessment: (4000 words equivalent) Building upon the work of module 3.4, the first part of this double module will require you to work within a community of learning. You will work as small teams on a group task to produce a presentation, which will be shared and evaluated by the whole group. The whole task will be completed within two college based days.
  28. 28. Work in groups of four. Using handouts, library sources, internet sources and school documentation to inform your understanding, investigate the ‘inclusive classroom’. Present a broad outline of your group’s understanding of the ‘inclusive classroom’ – related specifically to SEN and cultural diversity. Address the following important elements:
  29. 29. Legislation and policy documents relevant to SEN and to equal opportunities and cultural diversity Issues to do with appropriate curriculum for pupils with varied backgrounds and needs The physical environment of the classroom The ‘culture’ of the classroom Curriculum access and differentiation - including for ‘gifted’ pupils. Approaches to teaching and learning Reference appropriately in your presentation and include a reference list.
  30. 30. During the task keep a reflective log: document the work you have done and your reflections upon what you have learned. This will be taken in at the end of the task. When all the presentations have been completed you will be expected to work with a partner, review the presentations and produce written evaluations of two, with reference to the assessment criteria.
  31. 31. <ul><li>Assessment criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Students will demonstrate: </li></ul><ul><li>critical engagement with school policies and current literature and legislation in terms of both SEN and the diversity of cultures within schools </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge and critical understanding of the complexity, identification and assessment of special needs </li></ul><ul><li>critical knowledge and understanding of provision for children with special educational needs in a mainstream school </li></ul><ul><li>critical engagement with the concept and practice of curriculum access and differentiation </li></ul><ul><li>an ability to analyse information critically </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Driving Force - The Students! The Profile The Dynamics – networking The Commitment
  33. 33. Enhanced Knowledge and Skills
  34. 34. Increased Levels of Collaboration
  35. 35. Confidence!
  36. 36. How do we support our students? <ul><li>Module Tutors </li></ul><ul><li>Year Tutors </li></ul><ul><li>School partnerships – school mentors </li></ul>
  37. 37. What has come to underpin the programme? REFLECTION and CRITICAL REFLECTION
  38. 38. Reflection What is reflection? Reflection in action Reflection on action Models of reflection Donald Schon
  39. 39. Critical Reflection <ul><li>What is critical reflection? </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising and Challenging: </li></ul><ul><li>Basic Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning Perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Frames of Reference </li></ul><ul><li>Our “Window on the World” </li></ul><ul><li>Jack Mezirow and Patricia Cranton </li></ul>
  40. 40. Opportunities for Reflection and Critical Reflection <ul><li>Teaching sessions </li></ul><ul><li>Group Discussions and activities </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment tasks </li></ul>
  41. 41. The Lessons Learnt <ul><li>Module Structure – Work-based and </li></ul><ul><li>college based </li></ul><ul><li>The mentoring role </li></ul><ul><li>TA / Teacher dynamics </li></ul><ul><li>Logistics – the school year, the school day. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>ICT </li></ul>
  42. 42. The Way Forward Continue to evaluate and …. Listen to the students! A full time programme
  43. 43. We love to talk…… [email_address] [email_address]