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Teaching assistant

Giving Feedback - 'Even better if...'

When giving feedback to a pupil it's important to focus on the positive and give targets for improvement, as this stops them from focusing on the negative and feeling demoralised.

A good way of doing this is by using the phrase 'Even better if...', for instance; 'You used punctuation really well, but even better if you checked all your spellings'. This can work with either oral or written feedback, and can be adopted by pupils when doing peer assessment.

 

Be prepared

Make sure you understand what is being taught and the purpose of the lesson or task for which you are supporting the pupil. You must ensure that you are able to use language and methods consistent with that of the teacher so that you don’t confuse them. Use this same terminology when reporting back to a teacher on the progress of the pupil.

 

Keeping motivated

It can be hard to keep you and you pupils motivated at the start of a new term, especially when it’s so cold outside! Try to keep your lessons or group sessions fresh by introducing new activities, or updating your old ones. This will stop you getting bored, as well as the pupils!

Give tasks to your pupils, such as getting the books or collecting in sheets, and make a big deal about the importance of this task. This works really well with any pupils who seem un-motivated, as the extra responsibility will boost their self-confidence.

 

Working one to one

Model to the pupil how they should complete the task, maybe showing them one example, but avoid completing their work for them. Don’t rush them, allow the pupil time to experiment and work it out for themselves. If they make a mistake, don’t point it out straight away as their confidence will suffer. Instead, when they have finished ask them to check their answers, and then guide them in the right direction. Always praise the pupil you are working with!

 

Know your pupils

If possible, read through the records your school has your pupils. Ask teachers if there is anything specific you should know about them, for example any medical conditions they may have, their previous national curriculum levels reached and any special educational needs you should be aware of.

 

Learning names

Give yourself some key goals for the first few weeks of term. For example, you might not learn all the pupils’ names straight away, but aim to cement a handful in your mind each day. Repeating a child's name three times to yourself after you have met them is a useful technique!

 

Parents

Parents can often find TAs more approachable, use this as a way of feeding back to your teacher about the parents thoughts and feelings regarding issues.

 

Training

There is always more training available, for more information on how you can progress or learn more about numeracy or literacy contact your LEA, speak to your line manager and discuss your future in appraisal time.

 

Recording pupil progress

You may want to create your own chart, that could be useful to you and your teacher on your thoughts on your own lessons, and pupils progress in group work, which you could discuss with your teacher in a one to one session.

 

Working with NQTs

Often TAs can feel a bit hesitant working with an NQT. Instead use this as an opportunity to show how well you can support them and give them insights into the pupils and how TAs work in your school , be proactive with your approach.

 

Extra eyes

Flag up things in class that the teacher may miss when they are taking the lesson, such as pupils struggling or pupil X bothering pupil Y, and maybe offer a solution such as sitting with them to help resolve the issue. Remember you are another set of eyes and ears that can be of great help.

 

Rewards

Perhaps work with your teacher to discuss a reward system that you can give to pupils such as charts, ticks or stickers - pupils will be equally keen to impress you as well.

 

Your voice

Make suggestions to your teacher about your thoughts on pupils, future lessons and group work. Teachers value your opinion and this can really help you support one another.

 

Planning

Speak to your class teacher and be proactive. Ask for a copy of their lesson plan, so you have an overview of whats going to happen in the lesson and whats expected of you. If you have time perhaps go into the classroom earlier.