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Teachers and teaching assistants working together: the perceptions of teaching assistants within a national framework.

Nash, Maureen Anne (2014) Teachers and teaching assistants working together: the perceptions of teaching assistants within a national framework. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This qualitative research study explores Teaching Assistants’ perceptions of their work within mainstream primary schools, reflected in the substantive research question: Working within a national framework – what are teaching assistants perceptions of their working lives? The voices of the TAs themselves are privileged within a field of study where research is mainly undertaken from the viewpoint of the researcher or other stakeholders in schools. This research is set within the context of national frameworks and the discourses surrounding the work of teaching assistants. Whilst this study seeks to read the world in a post-structural manner, it is set within the everyday life of schools alongside the contingencies and national frameworks surrounding it and a critical methodological approach is used. Interviews providing qualitative data are the chosen method for providing an opportunity for TAs to describe their experiences and voice their perceptions, and the study deploys a thematic analysis of this data. Three dominant themes emerge, National Frameworks, Interactions with Parents and Children, and School Environment. The study suggests that both commission and omissions of national policy affect the work of a teaching assistant and that the implementation of these policies presents complex relations of professionalism, identity and positioning in schools.

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