The starting point for assessing TA classroom practice in your school is ‘Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants: A self-assessment guide.’
When using the guide to assess classroom practice you will need to look at the first and second Red-Amber-Green grids (pages 2 and 3 of the guide). As noted in Unit Three, there are different ways to use the self-assessment tool:
- Use the guide yourself to assess current practice in the school from a leadership perspective
- Share the guide with colleagues – for example, the TA Development Team – and work collaboratively to openly and rigorously assess practice.
- Invite every teacher and teaching assistant in the school to complete an assessment of current practice, as they see it, using a copy of the guide. You can collate the results.
However, there is a flipside. Depending on the existing relationships your staff have, the converse could be true. It may be that only when assessing practice anonymously will Teacher Smith and Teaching Assistant Jones reveal their true feelings about how their working relationship runs.
Another option is to pair teacher-TA teams. For example, in a two-form entry school the teacher-TA from one class could observe and critique the practice of the other teacher-TA pair in the same year group, and vice versa. This would introduce a level of balance, so that judgments are not personal or excessively harsh.
As well as the self-assessment guide, another resource to use here is the Teacher-TA agreement template.
You can use the template to establish the different but coordinated roles TAs and teachers take on. Teacher-TA pairs can use the template to do this for themselves - and then update their document as time progresses. This helps them to learn each others' routines, making it easier for them to complement one another dynamically during lessons.