Enhancing learning? A comparison of teacher and teaching assistant interactions with pupils

Christine M. Rubie-Davies, Peter Blatchford, Rob Webster, Maria Koutsoubou, Paul Bassett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In many countries, teaching assistants are working in schools in increasing numbers. While they formerly supported teachers by completing low-level administrative tasks, they are increasingly playing a pedagogical role and working directly with pupils, particularly those with special educational needs. However, little is known about the quality of the support that teaching assistants provide to these pupils. This paper systematically examines differences in the types and quality of interactions teaching assistants have with pupils compared with the interactions of teachers in the same classrooms. Differences were found, particularly in relation to the development of pupil thinking, and examples of the differential interactions are provided in the paper. Recommendations are made related to the need to examine existing models of teaching effectiveness to take account of the role of teaching assistants in classrooms and the role of teachers managing teaching assistants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-449
Number of pages21
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Educational personnel
  • Special education
  • Teacher aides
  • Teaching assistants


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