The provision of high-quality education to learners is an effective practice that prepares them for different roles and responsibilities in their respective societies. The diversities many classrooms record compel educationists and curriculum developers to think of superior approaches to meet the needs of all students. Individuals with learning disabilities require superior initiatives that can improve their comprehension levels and competencies. The ultimate aim of the implemented educational system is to support all individuals and make it easier for them to have better lives in the future. However, many societies and countries lack a proper model for empowering pupils with special needs and taking them through the learning process. Within the past two decades, the percentage of the non-teaching workforce in the classroom has increased significantly. Many researchers and analysts have been interested in this area to understand the implication of such a trend and its effects on the experiences, abilities, and developments of the targeted beneficiaries. This paper evaluates teachings assistants (TA) as a strategy for including individuals with special needs in the classroom.
The use of TAs is not a new practice in different parts of the world due to their effectiveness and ability to transform the experiences of the greatest number of children with special needs. Bosanquet and Radford (2018) believe that the whole concept emerged in the early 1980s when different theorists and policymakers started to promote the power of inclusive education. Many countries began to analyze the responsibilities of schools and how they could increase the level of participation and involvement of underserved students, such as New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Ioannidi and Samara, 2019). This move created a new trend whereby stakeholders began to identify evidence-based ideas for meeting the needs of all learners with various needs. While no specific thinkers are known to have devised this strategy, past studies reveal that it emerged as a new trend for improving the experiences of pupils with disabilities (Bosanquet and Radford, 2018).
The emergence of various laws in the recent past has encouraged more schools and policymakers to introduce evidence-based initiatives to maximize inclusion. This model has been developed by ensuring that different classrooms have teaching aids that can support educationists and make it possible for them to offer personalized instructions. As parents and guardians started to seek education for their children, many schools became overwhelmed and incapable of delivering high-quality results. This development triggered a new trend characterized by the inclusion of additional TAs (Bosanquet and Radford, 2018). Currently, there are various training manuals or guidelines available for teachers who rely on the power of TAs. Such materials describe how they can relate positively, respect one another, monitor children’s needs, and focus on the best approaches to improve the classroom experiences. Such publications recommend the effective application of TAs in order to deliver positive outcomes. TAs require the relevant learning resources and technological devices that are personalized or in accordance with the expectations of all children, including the ones with special needs.
The implementation of TAs is quite simple if different partners in the targeted institution collaborate and focus on positive outcomes. Leaders of schools can allow their teachers to identify TAs with the relevant competencies and personalities depending on the demands of children with special needs (Ioannidi and Samara, 2019). These aids can receive timely guidelines and support depending on their areas of weakness or strength. The management will identify some of the right resources that can make it possible for the learners to record positive goals. Learning institutions will consider the importance of designing appropriate guidelines that define the relationship between the teaching fraternity and the use of TAs. This provision is essential to minimize cases of possible disagreements or insubordination that might have negative implications on the targeted outcomes or make it hard for the students to achieve their goals (Bosanquet and Radford, 2018). The relevant supervisors should monitor the behaviors and relationships between all educationists and TAs to ensure that a mutual agreement exists.
Within the classroom, these TAs should follow the instructions their teachers provide while at the same time involving their respective learners. They need to focus on the instructions intended for the students to make it easier for them to record positive results. The non-teaching professionals will offer the right resources, solve children’s complaints or questions, support decision-making processes, and mitigate emerging barriers to effective learning (Bosanquet and Radford, 2018). They can put much emphasis on some of the individuals with difficulties and collaborate with their respective instructors to support the delivery of positive results.
The selected inclusive strategy is appropriate for students with various weaknesses and learning needs. First, those with dyslexia will benefit from the model since they are unable to comprehend or read a text effectively or successfully. The affected individuals will be unable to process phonologies or differentiate word sounds (Bosanquet and Radford, 2018). Second, students with attention deficiency and hyperactivity can find it hard to concentrate or focus on a given activity. The TA will be involved to provide the relevant instructions and eventually deliver positive results. Third, individuals with dysgraphia might find it hard to write effectively in comparison with their counterparts. This physical condition can impede the learning process and result in discouragement. TAs need to support and encourage all struggling students to improve their grammatical abilities.
Fourth, processing difficulty is a special need issue that educationists should take seriously. Affected individuals will not make the relevant sense about different forms of sensory information or data (Sharma and Salend, 2016). The learners will have difficulties trying to recall some of the studied materials in class. These assistants can be part of the process to make it easier for more individuals to stop struggling (Sharma and Salend, 2016). The possible outcome is that more children will be involved and eventually receive the intended instructions or content. When these teacher aids apply their competencies effectively, chances of recording positive results will increase.
Depending on the requirements of the instructor, these specialists can complete their specific roles to maximize the engagement and concentration level of the targeted learners. The staff members can liaise with the teacher to identify the learning difficulties of the targeted child and ensure that he or she records desirable outcomes. Those who fail to receive the required instructions can receive additional support and help (Bosanquet and Radford, 2018). The end result is that the existing gap will no longer become an impediment to the learning process. These attributes and possible benefits explain why the use of TAs is an evidence-based approach that is capable of transforming the educational process and making it possible for more students with various disabilities or needs to achieve their maximum potential.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Many professionals support the use of TAs since it presents a number of advantages that make them applicable in different settings. First, it makes it possible for learners to achieve the intended educational goals even when they have specific disabilities. Second, the model is capable of reducing the effort and time of the educator, thereby increasing the chances of recording positive results (Ioannidi and Samara, 2019). Third, instructors in a given class can redesign the approach in such a way that it promotes either inclusion or exclusion. The latter can be essential when a teacher intends to provide additional ideas and guidelines to the targeted learner with more difficulties. Fourth, the model has the potential to improve the learning experience for all teachers and empower them to achieve the intended goals.
However, there are certain drawbacks that different partners might be aware of when considering the power of this model. The first issue is that the occurrence of disagreements between the educators and such TAs might affect the effectiveness or success of the process. The second challenge is that some of the TAs might fail to respect the teachers and learners, thereby disorienting the entire process. Another possible drawback is that the use of TAs has been observed to deliver mixed outcomes in the learning setting (Sharma and Salend, 2016). This gap explains why some theorists encourage educators to combine various strategies if positive results gains are to be recorded in a timely manner.
Implementation in the Classroom
Different analysts and researchers have presented evidence-based ideas for developing inclusive classrooms and supporting the demands of learners with various disabilities or needs. The introduction of TAs is simple since they are no complex procedures needed. Teachers need to identify the right specialists who have the required skills and are capable of meeting the demands of the learners (Pappas, Papoutsi, and Drigas, 2018). The individuals can receive training while being part of the educational process. The specialists can guide all students to be ready for the new changes and encourage them to remain supportive. The competencies and philosophies of the TAs are essential to ensure that all individuals are part of the process.
The school or institution can consider the importance of providing additional resources and aids to streamline the process. They can identify specific learners depending on their disabilities or needs. The teaching process can then be personalized to improve the outcomes and experiences of the greatest number of learners. Lauchlan and Greig (2015) go further to indicate that the concept can be expanded or applied in a divisive manner. This practice occurs when the TA selects one child to offer additional instructions depending on his or her learning challenges. The involvement of all stakeholders and partners in the classroom is critical to ensure that positive results are recorded in a timely manner.
Medical v Social Model
The consideration of TA in the learning environment is a powerful practice that can deliver both social and medical benefits. Ioannidi and Samara (2019) indicate that TAs contribute to behavioral therapy since they encourage more individuals to be involved, learn to relate with others properly, and engage in sharing. They will acquire additional ideas for writing and comprehending various tasks (Lauchlan and Greig, 2015). The specialists will get a new opportunity to identify some of the potential barriers to effective learning. Such observations need to be shared with therapists and physicians to guide the students. According to Ioannidi and Samara (2019), the combination of teaching procedures and medical progression for children with complex disabilities can deliver positive outcomes. The beneficiaries will complete their studies successfully and record the relevant academic milestones.
Similarly, the TA concept creates a new opportunity for more students to become recognized members of society. They will be in a position to bargain successfully in their communities and fight for their personal rights. The institution that implements the TA strategy will be doing social justice and empowering the targeted individuals to pursue their goals (Sharma and Salend, 2016). This analysis reveals that the introduction of similar strategies is essential and capable of transforming the lives and experiences of the greatest number of underserved children. These aspects explain why more institutions and communities should be ready to meet the demands of more learners with various disabilities.
Within the past three decades, new ideas and legal principles have emerged that seek to overcome the causes of discrimination and inequality in the United Kingdom. For example, the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concept has become a powerful model whereby stakeholders in the field of education can think of advanced and evidence-based approaches for ensuring that all students are included in the classroom. They should also get additional resources and support if they are to succeed in the setting (Ioannidi and Samara, 2019). The model has become essential since it guides and empowers more teachers to make appropriate choices depending on the needs of their respective students and engage them until positive gains are recorded. The first guiding principle is engagement whereby all partners can collaborate (Hayes and Bulat, 2017). The second one is that of representation since individuals with diverse needs should be part of the process. The third principle for participants to take into consideration is that of expression and it supports the best action plans that are guided by the learners’ expectations.
Legal provisions and laws have become essential in ensuring that all children get equal and high-quality education in this country. The Equality Act of 2020 indicates that every citizen is part of society and needs to receive relevant academic support and empowerment (Ioannidi and Samara, 2019). In the learning environment, it becomes mandatory for schools to meet the demands of all learners without any form of prejudice or discrimination. The TA concept is designed in such a way that it supports these legal attributes. When teachers implement it in their classrooms, the chances of empowering the targeted learners will increase significantly (Hayes and Bulat, 2017). The individuals will receive the relevant skills and take the shortest time to improve their reading and writing competencies. They will eventually find new ways to compete successfully in the classroom.
The implementation of this framework will result in social inclusion that supports all individuals with various disabilities and find it easier to pursue their aims in life. This theoretical strategy is capable of maximizing inclusiveness and transforming the nature of legislation in the field of education. The concept of social justice appears to receive the support of the relevant legal frameworks (Webster and De Boer, 2019). When all stakeholders take this issue seriously, the greatest number of learners with special needs will receive additional instructions and become responsible members of the wider society.
The idea of inclusion has become a powerful idea for transforming the classroom and meeting the demands of more learners. This reasoning behind such an idea is that all children with various disabilities should receive adequate opportunities to study and collaborate with other students who do not have special needs (Webster and De Boer, 2019). The educators will rely on the available resources and introduce additional procedures to deliver high-quality instructions and competencies. The integration of such individuals with disabilities means that they will all focus on the same goals and eventually deliver the intended content. This approach is founded on some of the established principles and policies in the UK and across the globe.
When more children have access to TAs in the class setting, chances of receiving personalized instructions will increase significantly. The teacher will present the relevant content to the entire class while allowing the assistant to identify those who have difficulties and offer additional insights or competencies. This process will occur without singling out some of the individuals until the desired outcomes are recorded (Webster and De Boer, 2019). The learning institution pursuing such a model will introduce additional support systems, timetables, and technological resources that can empower all the specialists depending on the needs of the learners.
This selected strategy is essential since it will improve the level of inclusion and make it possible for more students to develop the relevant communication and interactional skills that can guide them throughout the learning process. The beneficiaries will start to appreciate their diversities and learn how to capitalize on them to change their communities. The disabled persons will acquire the relevant competencies and complete their academic programs successfully. From this analysis, it is agreeable that different stakeholders and policymakers should promote this approach since it will make a significant difference and take the concept of inclusion to the next level (Hayes and Bulat, 2017). Consequently, more students with various difficulties will comprehend and understand the delivered content much faster. These achievements will be beneficial to all partners, including parents, guardians, educators, TAs, and community members. Such aspects explain why there is a need for all stakeholders to consider and implement such a strategy in the classroom and promote inclusivity.
Learners with various special needs or disabilities cannot develop the right competencies without receiving timely or personalized support. The above discussion has identified the use of TAs as an effective strategy for meeting the educational needs of these students. When the model becomes part of the classroom, more teachers and TAs will collaborate, provide timely instructions to the individuals, solve emerging obstacles and improve the level of coordination. The approach will increase the learning abilities and skills of the children while equipping teachers and TAs with additional competencies for future practices. The demands of the identified beneficiaries should dictate the teaching process to ensure that positive results are recorded. The legal principles implemented in this country should also become the best guidelines to encourage more schools and instructors to include more TAs in different settings. The model will empower all students with disabilities and make it easier for them to pursue their academic and professional objectives. These achievements will make the society better and promote the level of social and economic equality.
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