Date
26 March 2019

Support group work and collaborative learning

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Identifying areas to build teacher aide understanding and confidence’

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Encourage students to share ideas

Encourage students to share ideas

Share expectations that teacher aides will limit their talk time and allow plenty of time for students to explain their thinking.

Give feedback and feedforward

Give feedback and feedforward

When providing feedback and feedforward encourage TAs to:

  • address feedback towards the specific goal the student is working on
  • give feedback at the time
  • be consistent; use the same framework or rubric to give ongoing feedback
  • be specific – effective feedback is concrete, specific, and useful. For example, rather than saying “Great job”, say, “You used xxx strategy to solve that problem correctly.”
  • frame comments so they are stated positively – state what the student has done well, and then one manageable thing to work on next.

Support pairs by stepping back

Support pairs by stepping back

When students are working in pairs, encourage TAs not to be part of a pair.

The TA can support the student partnership but not be a replacement peer.

Support peer-to-peer interactions

Support peer-to-peer interactions

One of the many benefits of students working in mixed ability groups is that students are able to support each other. A teacher aide can support these interactions.

Facilitate student participation

Facilitate student participation

Support teacher aides to:

  • encourage students to ask their peers, a buddy, or a partner when they need help
  • encourage students to share their understandings. For example, “Amy, can you show Sonia how you solved that problem?”
  • wait and prompt students only if they are off task
  • wait and prompt students only to ensure everyone has a turn, when students are working in a group with specific roles.

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Identify areas to build TA understanding and confidence”:

Return to the guide “Supporting effective teacher aide practice ”

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