A study exploring the influences of training on teaching assistants' learning, behaviour and self efficacy

Higgins, Helen J. (2009) A study exploring the influences of training on teaching assistants' learning, behaviour and self efficacy. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

There is a growing number of teaching assistants (TAs) in mainstream schools (DCFS, 2009) and research is inconclusive about their efficacy at improving outcomes for children, including those at risk of exclusion (Groom and Rose, 2005; Tennant, 2001). It has been proposed that TAs do not have enough training for their roles (Russell et al, 2005). However, there is debate about the most appropriate adult training methods (Merriam et al, 2007). Nevertheless, several writers suggest that training can influence self efficacy and this can improve performance (Giallo and Little, 2003).

A mixed methods design was implemented. Firstly, two fixed designs evaluated TA self efficacy following training and pupil behaviour following a TA delivered anger management intervention. However, due to design and implementation issues the data produced was very limited and conclusions could not be made. Secondly, a flexible design explored factors that influenced TAs’ learning, behaviour and self efficacy. Data was collected from 14 mainstream secondary school TAs using evaluation forms and focus groups. A thematic analysis was carried out on this data.

Themes regarding learning, confidence, training and self efficacy emerged from the data. The learning implied by some of the TAs referred to the acquisition and maintenance of terminology, developing different knowledge bases and the autonomy to adapt materials. Similarly, some of the TAs referred to having confidence mainly when they had some control over the situation. Training subthemes that seemed to influence TAs’ learning and confidence were confirmation/ reassurance from others, parameters of training, iterative process of training and involvement in the process. Finally, TA self efficacy seems to have been influenced by Bandura’s (1977) sources of information, outcome expectations and whole school support and norms.

In conclusion, it is important to challenge unhelpful outcome expectations, develop whole school norms and the equality of TAs in schools. Furthermore, training of TAs should involve appropriate psychological paradigms from adult learning theories.

Item Type:Thesis (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors:Durbin, Nick
Uncontrolled Keywords:teaching assistants, teachers' assistants, TAs, training, self efficacy
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:962
Deposited By:Dr Helen J. Higgins
Deposited On:26 Feb 2010 10:57
Last Modified:26 Feb 2010 10:57

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