Significant reforms have been made to the education system due to the demands of a fast changing and increasingly competitive global economy. The need to provide quality education that maximizes the potential of every child and raise standards of pupil performance has increased the demand for education assistants and broadened the range of responsibilities they perform. In the past, an education assistant’s role involved preparing materials for the classroom, childcare and pastoral care. However in today’s teaching environment, an education assistant is also required to support students with special needs, implement lesson plans, assess pupil progress, manage challenging behaviours and much more. It is important to note that many of these
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It is very troubling to note that the least qualified personnel are often expected to manage and instruct the most challenging and needy students (Broer et al 2005, Giangreco & Broer, 2005). As a result, schools must endeavour to ensure that they implement high quality processes and systems for the recruitment and on-going training of education assistants.
Accordingly, a successful education assistant must be proactive and use their initiative to continually extend their qualifications and training in relevant areas. Kay (2005) states that an education assistant can also develop their skills by actively observing the teacher in the classroom or by reading books that can offer a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics. In addition, school policy makers also need to allocate planned and perhaps even paid time set aside for the training and upgrading of education assistants to meet student needs.
Education assistants perform a wide range of responsibilities which differ within classes and schools. The role is significant but