Emma Clarke John Visser


This paper will consider how teaching assistants’ (TAs’) roles are changing from the historical ‘mum’s army’ (Bach  Kessler & Heron, 2006) of paint-pot washers, as some considered it pre-national curriculum, to the developing conception of the TA as a ‘paraprofessional’. Contemporary issues arising from the loosely defined current expectations of TAs’ wider pedagogical role will also be discussed. Consideration will be given to how and why managing behaviour has become an expectation and a necessity for TAs in their current deployment in schools, and why learning about managing behaviour differs for TAs and teachers. Additionally, the paper will reflect on the specific challenges facing TAs in managing behaviour. How TAs learn from each other in communities of practice, as well as from teachers and senior leaders, will be explored. Furthermore, how behaviour policies and policy implementation generally can influence TAs’ opportunities to promote their own learning will be reviewed.