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Importance of EA's and the challenges they face

By sherbu31 Jul 29, 2014 2380 Words

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Essay 1 attracted a ‘Credit’. It addresses the task, makes pertinent points and uses references appropriately. The structure, format, expression etc is also of a suitable standard. Suggested improvements for Essay 1 are in ‘red’.

Essay 2 attracted a ‘Fail’. The criteria are not addressed . The language is too informal. English usage is of a poor standard. Senteces ‘ramble’ and are poorly constructed! The attempt at referencing is equally poor, despite attending a session on how to reference.


Start with a general statement re the topic as discussed in class---for example- Special needs education assistants (SNEAs) have a critical impact on the support needs of students with additional needs. To be an outstanding Additional Needs Education Assistant you must have an understanding of the duties required of the position to become successful.. This essay will discuss how important an Additional Needs Education Assistant is to a classroom environment in supporting children with additional needs, what makes them successful and the challenges they will face in their working environment. This essay will also examine the There are a number of professional skills required, but there are also a number of other skills required such as communication, understanding the confidentiality. requirements and understanding the role of the Additional Needs Education Assistant The studies relating to Additional Needs Education Assistant clearly show there is a need for a number of improvements. In what area? These improvements cover such things as providing greater respect and acknowledgement of staff, and supplying more and better training and supervision (Giangreco, Eldeman & Broer, 2001). The real goal of an Additional Needs Education Assistant within the school environment is to help students reach academic, social and emotional success. Making a positive difference in a student’s life will be a very rewarding experience for those people that choose to take up this form of employment. “It is not surprising that many general education teachers consider the use of a paraprofessional to accompany a student with a disability in general education classes an essential support” (Giangreco, Broer 2001, Pg149). The practice of inclusion has been accepted as a very positive step when educating students with additional needs as the role of an Education Assistant is to help and support the work of teachers. It is essential that the Additional Needs Education Assistant promote interaction with other students in the hope of a favourable outcome. The Education Assistant must not overstep the boundaries of providing too much attention to the child with additional needs, but must allow them to interface with the activities planned for the classroom, and the students of the classroom. A child must be made to feel part of the class for a positive conclusion. Who says so?-reference please A successful Additional Needs Education Assistant must have an understanding of the Government Policies that are in force. The Western Australian Department of Education has a Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct, 2011) under which confidentiality is covered. The Code of Conduct is a set of general principles that staff must follow when making professional and personal decisions. It is essential that all staff employed in the Education system be aware of and stick to these guidelines to ensure the privacy of staff, students and parents. Ways of respecting confidentially in the classroom are keeping anything with student details in a place that is only accessible to the relevant staff and not having any type of conversation about students and their families in areas where other staff, students or parents can hear. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the Additional Needs Education Assistant and the roles and responsibilities of the Teacher are very important. Appropriately qualified Teachers must supervise the Education Assistant and it must be made clear as too who is responsible for what duties. Education Assistants must be very clear on the fact that Teacher is responsible for all decisions about curriculum or teaching plans and not interfere. The Education Assistant is there to reinforce what the Teacher wants for the whole classroom and to guide the children to achieve this (Position Paper Teacher’s Aides, 2007). It is also important that the Education Assistant be aware of the Schools policies, procedures and rules. They need to make sure they are aware of where materials are kept and how to access and use the technologies within the school. It is very important that the additional Needs Education Assistant have a very high standard of written and oral communication skills as good communication is essential for the right conclusion. Sound communication skills ensure instructions are imparted on the student in an understandable manner, which in turn allows for learning. It also makes sure the Education Assistant understands the instructions given to her by the Teacher. Education Assistants have a number of administrative tasks that they are required to complete so they must have sound communications skills. Good communication skills enable good relationships between students, staff, parents and other community members (Competency framework, 2008). There are a number of challenges the Additional Needs Education Assistant will face during their employment such as receiving respect from parents, teachers, administrators and students. There is a definite connection between being a respected and valued member of a team within the school and classroom environment and being able to work effectively. Without the respect from parents, teachers, administrators and students an Additional Needs Education Assistant may not receive adequate support within their job and therefore not get job satisfaction (Riggs & Mueller, 2001). The role of an Additional Needs Education Assistant is about making a positive difference in the classroom environment and without adequate support from other staff within the Education system an Additional Needs Education Assistant may not be able to meet these requirements of the job. It is important that the Education Assistant foster good relationships with parents, teachers, administrators and students as respect is a mutual thing. Studies conducted by Giangreco, Suter and Doyle (2010) bring attention to the fact that there are complications of establishing a suitable match between the skills of the Additional Needs Education Assistant, what’s expected in relevant roles, and the importance of both educational support and administrative duties. A pursuit of knowledge and a commitment to achievement of potential is a recognised Core Shared Value within the Education system (WA Curriculum Framework). An Additional Needs Education Assistant must receive adequate training or they won’t be able to help their students to meet these guidelines. The Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 says that Education Assistants must be properly trained and supervised, but they did not state how much training or supervision they should receive or how this was to be provided (Giangreco M, F., @ Broer S, M.(2005)).

Giangreco states, ‘The least qualified staff members are teaching students with the most complex learning charactaristics’ (May/June 2005). Additional Needs Education Assistants are able to assist with skills, mindset, efficiency and learning for students with special needs. It is very important that Additional Needs Education Assistants receive the necessary training, professional development and opportunities to become effective assistants. To work in a suitable and dedicated manner the Additional Needs Education Assistant must be provided with knowledge, strategies and common sense foundations (Wasykowski, 2001). One way of meeting this would be to schedule regular meetings and get feedback, both positive and negative from teachers that you assist. The Additional Needs Education Assistant must take some of the responsibility of this on themselves by researching the additional need the student has and deciding how this will affect the services they can provide. In summary,an Additional Needs Education Assistant plays a pivotal role in helping a student with additional needs to integrate into the school setting. There will be many challenges that will be faced by an Additional Needs Education Assistant throughout employment. They must ensure they have received adequate training to make sure the individual students are provided with the assistance needed. Working as an Additional Needs Education Assistant is challenging and communication skills must be of a high standard. The ability to work as a part of a Team Member who understands the role of an Additional Needs Education Assistant and to keep intimate information confidential is of utmost importance.

Total 1168 words
Required 1200 words

Australian Association of Special Education INC., (2007). Position paper Teacher’s Aides. Department of Education WA, (2011). Code of Conduct.
Disabilities Education Act of 1997.
Department of Education and Training, (2008). Competency Framework.

Giangreco M, F., & Broer S, M. (2007) School Based Screening to Determine Overreliance on Paraprofessionals. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities; Fall 2007; ProQuest Education Journals pg.149. Giangreco M, F., & Broer S, M. (2005) Questionable utilization of paraprofessionals in inclusive schools: Are we addressing symptoms or causes. Giangreco , M. F., Suter, J. C., & Doyle, M. B. (2010). Paraprofessionals in Inclusive Schools; A Review of Recent Research. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 20, 41-57. Giangreco M, F., Yuan S., McKenzie B., Cameron P., Fialka J. (May/June 2005) “Be Careful What You wish for…”: Five Reasons to Be Concerned About the Assignment of Individual Paraprofessionals. Teaching exceptional children Riggs, C, G., & Mueller, P, H. (2001). Employment and utilization of paraeducators in inclusive settings. Journal of special education. WA Curriculum Framework.

Wasykowski, J. (2001, August). Perspectives of teacher assistants working with students with diverse learning needs. Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

What makes a successful Education Assistant? It takes a special person to be a successful Education Assistant. Some of the qualities a person requires are they need to be a well organised person who is a willing team member and can be adaptable to any situation who is also calm be nature. Following we will discuss why these attributes are so important to the role of a Special Needs/ Education Assistant.

Since 1998 schools have begun to employ an increasing number of Education Assistants to support the quality of teaching the modern curriculum. It is encouraging to note form research that EAs are helping to raise the standards in the classrooms they work in. OFSTED’s (1999) states ‘well trained EAs are a key resource and are used very effectively in many primary schools’. The essence lies in understanding the nature of the support they can provide. This can be divided into four categories: Support the pupil

Support the teacher
Support the curriculum
Support the school

Support for the pupil is to support all the children with whom the EA comes in contact with. Many Special Needs Education Assistance will be employed to work with an individual child with specific needs; however in the class room part of their role is to help them work in the company of other children and often in tandem with them. By working with the classroom teacher and all the pupils in their classroom an ea can become an indispensable part of every pupils learning, aiding pupils with special needs requires the snea to be highly organized, flexible and collaborative to be successful. (Taylor, 2010). Challenging behaviour is a regular occurrence for an ea who works with pupils with additional needs. To try to combat some of the problems that may come up during the school day an ea must work collaboratively with the classroom teacher. Safety for the pupils and the staff must be planned for and supported when challenging behaviour occurs. Dealing proactively and positively to stop challenging behaviour is very important for the pupil showing those behaviours, it’s also those that seek to develop relationships with the pupil.(Luke 2012).It’s vital that an ea is highly organised as they don’t know what challenges lay ahead of them on any given day or time. In order to do this they must discuss the day’s activities with the classroom teacher. Have all the necessary teaching aides, equipment and documents ready and also have an action plan for any challenging behaviour that may occur, by working collaboratively with the teacher if anything happens it’s dealt with, with little or no intrusion to the rest of the class.

The role of an ea is to work collaboratively with the classroom teacher by helping to identify specific learning and support needs. As the National Literacy and numeracy (2009-2013) has shown it is now common for teachers to allocate ea’s to help with literacy and numeracy work by assessing pupil’s performance. Ea’s may also plan, implement, model and evaluate teaching programs for pupils with additional needs in conjunction with the teacher, pupil and/or parents. By modelling exemplary classroom behaviour when tailoring adjusted learning programs for pupils with additional needs, ea’s are supporting the teacher and the whole class by example. Classroom teachers also rely on ea’s to provide direct support for pupils with additional needs through direct instructions, social integration, language and communication under the teachers direction. By supporting the teacher in the above ways, ea’s can play a very big role in how the whole classroom runs. Having a happy and relaxed teacher makes the classroom a more relaxed environment for learning.

Support for their school, ea’s are not just part of the staff, they are part of a team as such this includes translating the school policies and furthering the ethos of the school. By showing support for their school they are also showing support for the community with which they work.

In conclusion, the role of an education assistant/special needs assistant is very rewarding and good. Education assistances /special needs have learnt to be well organised, have core values and need to be very adaptable as well. An education assistant is a valuable team member who has some structures in place for challenging behaviour in society as it is today. By being well organised adopting core values and working collaboratively, a successful ea/snea will be a valu team member in any classroom.

OFSTED’S review of Primary Education 1994-1998 (1999).
Report by HMI on a primary school in Devon (1999).
Working with Teaching Assistance
DFEE 0148/2000 October 2000.
Taylor D (July 19 2010)
Article – the role of ta's in special needs.
National Literacy and Numeracy strategies (2009-2013).
NSW Public Schools (29 January 2013).

Support for the school is for ea's to remeber they are not just part of the staff, they are also part of a special team in their community. As such this includes translating the schools policies and furthering the ethos of the school.

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___________________ ___________________ ___________________ (Parent)(Principal)(Learning Support Coordinator)

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