This suggested structure is ideal for line managers of TAs, HLTAs, Lead TAs - basically anyone responsible for leading meetings with TAs.
A question on the board to discuss in groups while TAs get coffee. Something open ended, even controversial works well.
Questions you might like consider could be:
Should children be encouraged to select their own resources to support them during learning activities?
Is presentation of work as important as achieving learning objectives?
Do teaching assistants need to be involved in planning to fully support learning activities?
This type of discussion at the beginning of the meeting ensures the time is fully utilised and there is no dead time in waiting for the meeting to begin. This type of question creates a platform to gradually undo any old-fashioned thought processes and shape the way in which the TA team are working.
5 – 10 minutes - Group Discussion
Share thoughts and outcomes of the discussion. This is a great opportunity to discuss that differing opinions can often be a great thing and that teachers they work with may have different expectations.
30 to 60 minutes – Main Meeting
One or more of the following focus elements for your meeting:
Short Training Session
Prepare a short training session on a topic that would benefit the TAs. Ensure there are more activities or discussion than delivery focused training to ensure the training is memorable and meaningful for each TA.
Idea/ Resource Share
For this type of meeting, each TA brings along a resource or great idea they have seen work well in the classroom. Just a few TAs could bring resources and show them to the whole group, or everyone could bring something and run the meeting as a speed dating style session, so everyone shares their ideas in pairs for just a few minutes before one moves on.
General Information Sharing
Take care that this doesn’t become a negative, problem sharing affair. You could try having a rule that if anyone raises an issue, they should have thought of at least one way to solve the problem. Anyone listening to the issue should focus on providing ideas to solve the problem too. The only way for meetings to be productive is to have a common understanding that fault-finding is unhelpful unless we have ideas for a solution that will work for most people.
5 Minutes – Action Planning
Whether the focus of the meeting has been training, idea/resource sharing or general information sharing a concentrated 5 minutes of action planning of changes TAs might like to try in their classroom practice.
A few tips:
- Remember the little things matter too. Cake is always popular for a meeting!
- Agreeing that all stress and negativity are left at the door can be helpful, so forward-thinking positivity is maximised
- Celebrate success. Remember that we’re all here, in school to build confidence, self-esteem and progress with the young people we work with. The little break-throughs are worth celebrating together.
Unsure which professional development will make the biggest impact in the classroom? Fill out the form below and a member of the team will be in touch.