Support for Teaching Assistants
In Czech schools, teaching assistants play a vital role in the support of pupils with special educational needs. In September 2018 more than 21 thousand teaching assistants were working at schools across the Czech Republic. Many of them lack methodological support from their schools, some encounter problems in communication with teachers or parents. That is why since 2013 we have been focusing on education of and methodological support for teaching assistants. We worked in close cooperation with Palacký University Olomouc on the creation and testing of the Teaching Assistant Professional Standard and Teaching Assistant Work Methodology.
We are currently offering the following activities for the development and support of teaching assistants:
We offer teaching assistants a Blended Learning course: Teaching assistant for children from a socially disadvantaged environment (50 hours). The course is intended for teaching assistants and school assistants from various types and levels of school working with children from a socially disadvantaged environment. The course is a combination of e-learning and three presentation sessions and helps assistants develop their competences for handling difficult situations involving behavioural fits in children, communication and cooperation with teachers and helping them also to reflect on their work. We also offer courses for assistants focusing on communication at school and with parents and working with schoolchildren with ADHD.
Support groups for teaching assistants
We hold regular support group meetings at which teaching assistants may share their experiences and the problems that they encounter (in communication with teachers, pupils etc.). The two-hour meetings are usually held once a month in the early evening and are facilitated. Support group meetings are held in Ústí nad Labem and Liberec.
Regular conferences for teaching assistants
In the autumn of 2018 we organised the first annual conference Assistants for a Better School which took place on 20 November in the DOX Contemporary Art Centre. The conference was attended by 181 teaching assistants, other educational workers and experts from non-profit organisations and from state administration and self-governing units. The conference made it possible for assistants from various schools to share their experiences, discuss problems with other assistants, educators and school management representatives, and professional development for assistants in various fields (working with emotions, communication, working with pupils with ADHD). The second annual conference will be held in November 2019. By organising an annual conference for teaching assistants we want to support the professional growth of teaching assistants and also raise the prestige and importance of this profession.
Online methodology materials library for teaching assistants and teachers
We have set up an online library where we have amassed methodological and didactic handbooks for teachers and teaching assistants published by Varianty and other cooperating organisations. You can search in the library using keywords and other parameters; all publications are free to be downloaded.