Date
26 March 2019

​Support student friendships

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

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Be sensitive

Be sensitive

Notice as student begin to make friendships and stand back.

... adults must quietly step into the background, camouflaging their help as a tiger who may hide in full view.

Jamie Burke, a student with autism, who now attends Syracuse University

Foster peer interaction

Foster peer interaction

Demonstrate to teacher aides the different ways they can support peer interaction.

Leave space for peers

Leave space for peers

Ensure the teacher aide is positioned alongside students, not (unwittingly) creating barriers between students and their peers.

 

Use multiple approaches to support friendships

Use multiple approaches to support friendships

Consider different ways to support student friendships.

  • Encourage students’ attempts to make friends by offering guidance about communication approaches and talking about feelings.
  • Be a positive role model and respect individual differences. Model respect, caring, patience, and positive interactions.
  • Promote connections around common interests.
  • Provide opportunities for ongoing student connections.
  • Help students to join ongoing group activities by identifying possible roles they can take.
  • Help keep student interactions going – explain the actions of students whose social skills are just developing.
  • Share information about emergent friendships with parents so that they can arrange for students to get together outside class.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Teachers and teachers' aides working together: Module 8 – Fostering peer relationships

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Visit website

Website

4 Parts of a Conversation: How to Help Kids With Social Skills Issues Navigate

Read time: 7 min

Publisher: Understood

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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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