Classroom assistants:their impact in Scottish primary schools

Stewart, June (2009) Classroom assistants:their impact in Scottish primary schools. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research project aimed to explore the impact of paid additional adults in classrooms on pupils and teachers in their day to day lives in primary schools. The project was devised and conducted against the backdrop of the class size discourse and in the context of Scottish primary school education system. In recent years the composition of the workforce in primary schools in Scotland has changed. This research project focused on the introduction of classroom assistants in primary schools in Scotland. There was little in the research literature that focused on pupil/adult ratios in primary school classes. There was a gap in the research and literature on the perceptions and experiences of pupils in this changing school and classroom environment. Data on the tasks and activities of classroom assistants were collected. This project investigated these three themes.

In order to explore the complex real life setting of the primary school classroom the research design chosen allowed the researcher to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The participants in the case study were drawn from three primary schools in the city of Aberdeen. In each of these three schools one middle stages class (primary four or five) its teacher and classroom assistant formed the participants in the case study. The researcher undertook direct observation of teachers and classroom assistants in their work place setting using an observation schedule. The data collected during this phase of the project was enhanced and supported by qualitative data from the participants from semi-structured interviews and focus group sessions. In addition the researcher’s in depth knowledge of the primary school class setting, her awareness and understanding of relationships and roles of the participants added strength to the validity of the data collected.
This multiple small-scale multi-method study allowed the researcher to create a detailed description of the impact of classroom assistants on the day to day experiences of teachers and pupils in primary schools. The influence of classroom assistant support was seen in teacher behaviour, workload and the activities they undertook. The researcher also found evidence to support the positive influence of classroom assistants on pupil behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: classroom assistants, Scottish primary schools
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Wilkinson, Professor J. Eric
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Mrs june stewart
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-1121
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:34

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