Top Classroom Tips for Support Staff

Providing behavioural support during lessons is an important part of the TA’s role.

Establish a clear understanding between the teacher and the TA about responsibilities and parameters: the teacher is always ultimately responsible for the behaviour of the class, including the child with difficulties, and should never be undermined by support staff.

The practice of the TA talking to a child while the teacher is addressing the class is not to be encouraged. It indicates that the child doesn’t need to listen like everyone else – and it distracts other pupils. If further/different explanation is needed, take the child elsewhere, or wait until the teacher has finished talking.

Remember to:

* reinforce the teacher’s expectations and behaviour management system

* remind the child – in a positive way – of rules and how you/the teacher want them to behave

* ensure the child’s understanding of instructions and how to succeed in the task

* redirect the pupil back to the task when their attention wanders; give praise for perseverance

* acknowledge every aspect of good behaviour – make sure the child knows you’ve noticed

* anticipate when a ‘trigger point’ is approaching and step in quickly to avert a negative reaction

* explain the choices that the child can make – and the consequences

Try to avoid:

* making exceptions for the child you are supporting; or ‘taking their side’ when they complain about the teacher

* telling the child what NOT to do

* delaying the start of independent activity; or completing tasks for the child

* being drawn into irrelevant conversation

* highlighting minor misdemeanours, especially in front of the whole class

* undermining the teacher’s authority

* an escalation of poor behaviour.