Lisa Fernandes


As a teacher educator specialising in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in a large further education college in North-East England, a key concern of the student teachers is how to work with those other practitioners who provide support to learners in the classroom.  A review of the literature, combined with my own experiences as both a teacher and teacher educator, led to three categories of inquiry: (i) students’ understanding of how to work with learning support staff, (ii) students’ experiences of and attitudes towards working with learning support staff and (iii) how well they believed they were prepared to work with learning support staff whilst studying for their teaching qualification.  Semi-structured interviews were conducted with student teachers; these were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The research found participants felt a lack of guidance to work with Learning Support Assistants (LSAs), a lack of time to collaborate with LSAs, and variability in role expectations across different settings impacted on inclusive practice. This study raises pertinent questions about how to support student teachers to prepare for inclusive practice through collaborative working with LSAs.   By examining the importance and complexities of the issues, teacher educators can explore ideas to prepare student teachers for collaborative working. 



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