22 February 2024
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Supporting effective teacher aide practice
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A systems approach for school leaders to support teacher aides to be effective in their roles

The terms teacher aides, support staff, teaching assistants, and TAs are used interchangeably reflecting the different language used by schools. The content will be most useful for primary and intermediate schools, and also has relevance for secondary contexts.

Strategies for action

Four key strategies for supporting teacher aides to be effective in their roles

Review and refine the TA's role and responsibilities

Teacher aides can positively contribute to teaching and learning when they have the support they need to be effective in their roles and responsibilities.

Three suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Develop effective recruitment, induction, and PLD processes

At the outset of employment, make explicit your school's commitment to inclusion and your investment in induction and ongoing professional learning of your teacher aides.

Video hosted on Vimeo

Find the right people who want to be part of your community and who share a vision for the success of all students.

Three suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Support and prepare teachers in their role

Teachers need to be well prepared for their role as manager of other adults that work with students in their class. Offer all teachers opportunities for professional learning in this area.

Identify areas to build TA understanding and confidence

Build teacher and TA understanding of areas where TAs can make the most effective contribution.

Five suggestions for implementing this strategy:

  1. Develop effective interactions


    • Resources
  2. Learn how to scaffold support


    • Video
    • Resources
  3. Support group work


    • Resources
  4. Enable student independence


    • Resources
  5. ​Support student friendships


    • Video
    • Resources

Key resources


Supporting teacher aides to have the most impact research articles

Report and good practice guides on teacher aide practice that makes a difference for learners and what schools can do to set teacher aides up for success.

Publisher: Education Review Office | Te Tari Arotake Matauranga

Making best use of teaching assistants Guidance report

Making best use of teaching assistants: Guidance report

Read time: 54 min

This is a practical, evidence-based UK guide for primary and secondary schools to support effective practices for working with teacher aides. It contains recommendations based on the latest research examining the use of teacher aides in classrooms.

Publisher: Education Endowment Foundation


Making the best use of teaching assistants: A self-assessment guide

This guide describes “ineffective”, “improving” and “exemplary” practice for evidence-based recommendations on the effective use of teacher aides.

Publisher: Education Endowment Foundation

Teachers and teachers aides working together School leaders

Teachers and teachers' aides working together: School leaders

This is a professional development resource for New Zealand schools, which includes nine modules that teachers and teacher aides can complete together.


Teachers and teachers' aides working together

Nine modules that teachers and teachers’ aides complete together to strengthen working relationships, improve role clarity and build knowledge of inclusive practice.


The teaching assistant’s guide to effective interaction

This is a practical, evidence-based UK guide to support classroom interactions between teacher aides and students. It contains practical strategies and reflective activities for both teachers and teacher aides.

Publisher: Routledge

Price: One off charge $54.89

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