Support for Learning and Teaching 

Effective Classroom Practice for Teaching Assistants

By Dr.  Jill Morgan
Senior Lecturer, University of Wales
Background & Overview

This workshop is designed to enable Teaching Assistants to enhance their knowledge and skills relating to supporting teaching and learning, as well as gaining a better understanding of what constitutes an effective collaborative relationship with other adults. Theories of learning and behaviour management will be considered as they relate to modern classrooms; through active participation and discussion, including the use of case studies and role play, participants will be encouraged to explore their own current practice and set goals for enhanced learning support. Participants will also be provided with a range of resources for use in classrooms.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

Teaching and Learning 

Participants will be provided with, and given opportunities to discuss, information relating to Social Constructivist theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner, as well as theories emerging from the most recent research from London University and elsewhere on effective learning support and the notion of 'scaffolding' learning.


Participants will be given information on, and opportunities to explore, the origins of current theory on behaviour and classroom management, as well as the most recent research into how these theories apply to students with a range of cognitive abilities and learning support needs, including those with special educational needs. Theories of student motivation will also be considered.

Working with Other Adults

Participants will be exposed to a variety of models for effective collaborative practice in classrooms, including the results of research from both the UK and the USA.

Participants will gain the following skills:

  • Reflection on their own current classroom practice and how it may be influencing student behaviour and learning, as well as their professional relationship with their supervising teacher(s)

  • More effective questioning techniques

  • Strategies which foster increased student independence

  • Manipulation of antecedents and consequences in order to help establish and maintain positive classroom behaviour, as well as helping to minimise instances of inappropriate behaviour

  • Motivational strategies



Note:  All sessions will include active participation and discussion, to enable participants to better reflect upon and articulate their current understanding and practice, and to help develop their own thinking as well as that of their students.  Participants' current knowledge and experience will be valued as they are encouraged to share with the group and actively engage in discussion and other activities.


Session 1

Introductions, overview of the 2-day programme, initial explorations of current practice, approaches and knowledge base 

Session 2

Supporting Teaching and Learning - theory and practice

Session 3

Supporting positive behaviour in students - theory and practice

Session 4

More effective collaborative practice with other professionals

Sessions 1 and 2

Supporting Teaching and Learning - revisiting and developing concepts and practice introduced in Day 1; developing personal plans and goals for enhancing knowledge and practice through better questioning and scaffolding techniques.

Session 3

Supporting positive behaviour - revisiting and developing concepts and practice introduced in Day 1; developing personal plans and goals for enhancing practice through more effective strategies for motivating students and promoting positive classroom behaviour (including their own).

Session 4

Overview of the two days, with opportunities for students to clarify knowledge and understanding and make final reflections on what they have learned.

Target Audience

Teaching Assistants and other classroom support staff


9.00 am  - 4.00 pm


Course Leader

Dr Jill Morgan is currently a Senior Lecture in the 'Athrofa' (Institute of Education) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in South Wales, UK, and has more than 30 years of experience in the field. She began her career as a Primary School teachers, working in schools in London and southeast England. She gained her Masters in Special Education at London University's Institute of Education, and a PhD at Utah State University (Utah, USA). While at Utah State University she worked as part of a team developing training materials for Teaching Assistants/Paraeducators; her PhD research related to the dynamics of the working relationships between Teaching Assistants and their supervising teachers. She is the author of several books for Teaching Assistants and teachers, published in both the UK and the USA.

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