Creating a sense of excitement
Change can be daunting, but it can also be exciting. When it comes to maximising the impact of TAs, there’s a lot of excitement to be had. First, this is a project which is supported by sound research. Research which pinpoints just how TAs can be helped to do their jobs better, to improve pupil outcomes and to feel a more professional, integrated part of the teaching and learning process.
Second, this is a project which focuses almost entirely on supporting, upskilling and empowering a group of people – teaching assistants – who have already made plain their desire to work in schools, with young people, and who want to have a positive impact through the work they do. This means that we are looking at changes which accord with the motivations underpinning the actions and decision-making of the majority of TAs.
Third, this is a project which can fundamentally change relationships within school. Relationships between TAs and teachers, relationships between TAs and pupils, and relationships between you, the leadership team and your TAs. These changes can be incredibly positive, beneficial and inspiring for all involved. You only need to look at the video footage from Pye Bank CE School to find evidence of this – and many of these changes are replicable in secondary schools and other settings as well.
Below is a poster that can act as a call to action, articulating the importance of improving the use of teaching assistants.
If you can create a sense of excitement in your school around the potential impact of this project, then you will be well on the way to making it a success. If staff are enthused about the possibilities which change entails, if they are focussed on the great benefits that change can bring, then they will be far more receptive and open to what that change might involve.
So use the resources in this course – the text, the videos and the other materials – to fire up your colleagues; to get them thinking about what the future could look like if ideas are translated into reality.
And, as the project moves forward, remember that one of your key roles will always be to talk up the positives. To maintain that sense of excitement and enthusiasm. That is where the energy comes from. That is how you can keep the momentum going.