1st Edition

Teaching Assistants, Inclusion and Special Educational Needs International Perspectives on the Role of Paraprofessionals in Schools

Edited By Rob Webster, Anke A. de Boer Copyright 2023
    226 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers the first collection of international academic writing on the topic of teaching assistants. It serves as an indicative summary of current research and thinking in this field and as a point of departure for future research and development.

    With contributions from leading researchers, the book draws together empirical work on the deployment and impact of teaching assistants from various perspectives and from a range of methodological approaches. It highlights and celebrates the vital everyday contributions teaching assistants make to their schools and their communities: from their role within classrooms, to their moment-by-moment interactions with pupils and teachers. The book examines the effect that teaching assistants can have on pupils’ learning and wellbeing, and considers issues of over-dependence on classroom paraprofessionals and the unintended consequences to which this can lead. Bringing together work from a journal special issue with brand-new and updated chapters, the contributions offer insight into the liminal space between educator, caregiver, behaviour manager, and facilitator of learning and of peer relations, which characterizes the teaching assistant role.

    This timely and important book will be essential reading for academics, researchers, and students interested in special educational needs, disability, and inclusion, and those interested in the wider topic of paraprofessionals in labour markets.


            Rob Webster and Anke A. de Boer

            Part I: Teaching assistants and schools

    1. Paraprofessional support in Irish schools: From special needs assistants to inclusion support assistants
    2. Yu Zhao, Richard Rose and Michael Shevlin

    3. In-between special needs teachers and students: Paraprofessionals' work in self-contained classrooms for students with intellectual disabilities in Sweden
    4. Daniel Östlund, Thomas Barow, Kajsa Dahlberg and Anette Johansson

    5. The ambiguous role of paraprofessionals in inclusive education in Germany
    6. Anika Lübeck and Christine Demmer

      Part II: Teaching assistants and pupils

    7. Inclusion moments for students with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities in mainstream schools: The teacher assistant’s role in supporting peer interactions
    8. Ineke Haakma, Anke A. De Boer, Sanne Van Esch, Alexander E. M. G. Minnaert and Annette A. J. Van Der Putten

    9. Give them wings to fly: Critiquing the special needs assistants scheme through the lens of pupil independence
    10. Claire Griffin and Peter Blatchford

    11. The perspectives and experiences of children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools regarding their individual teaching assistant support
    12. Hayley Pinkard

      Part III: Teaching assistants and teachers

    13. Teaching assistants and teachers providing instructional support for pupils with SEN: Results from a video study in Swiss classrooms
    14. Franziska Vogt, Annette Koechlin, Annina Truniger and Bea Zumwald

    15. The role of teaching assistants in managing behaviour in inclusive Catalan schools
    16. Andrea Jardí, Ignasi Puigdellívol, Cristina Petreñas and Dorys Sabando

    17. Secondary teachers’ perspectives on their work with teacher assistants
    18. Claire Jackson, Umesh Sharma and Delphine Odier-Guedj

      Part IV: The past, present and future of research on teaching assistants

    19. Maslow’s Hammer: Teacher assistant research and inclusive practices at a crossroads

              Michael F. Giangreco

      11.   Conclusion: Researching teaching assistants: What have we learned and where do we go next?

            Rob Webster


    Rob Webster is a reader in Education and Director of the Education Research, Innovation and Consultancy unit at the University of Portsmouth, UK.

    Anke A. de Boer is an associate professor at the Inclusive and Special Educational Needs unit, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.