An investigation of the role of teacher aides in primary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand
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Citation:Kalsum, R. (2014). An investigation of the role of teacher aides in primary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Education, Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3107
The aim of this research is to interpret, from multiple perspectives, the role of the teacher aide in New Zealand primary schools. It is based on the rationale that the role of teacher aides in primary schools around the world has become increasingly complex. Over the years this role has changed from largely clerical duties to primarily instructional roles. Today teacher aides are supporting students in their learning as well as aiding the class teachers. Research and literature on teacher aides in education is currently limited which has left the role of teacher aides largely unaccounted for. The methods used in this qualitative research involved both questionnaires and interviews. This included 14 interviews with three teachers, three teacher aides and a teacher aides’ supervisor from two primary schools, and 35 completed questionnaires from three teachers, three teacher aides and a teacher aides’ supervisor from five primary schools. In total seven Auckland primary schools participated in this study. The results of this study have revealed that teacher aides are playing multiple roles in primary schools and they require professional development including better pre-service and in-service job training, clearer instructions from teachers and more opportunities for staff members to communicate. Through this research it has been suggested that teacher aides can play their role effectively if they are given clear tasks, are involved in planning students’ learning, and if their practice is monitored and regular constructive feedback is provided. This research highlights the need for the Ministry of Education and other educational stake holders in New Zealand to acknowledge the contribution of teacher aides as agents of transformation in the learning and experiences of young people, and to provide teacher aides with sufficient support. Also, an adequate teacher aide system is needed for effectively guiding the teachers and teacher aides for their roles in New Zealand primary schools.