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The lack of consensus provided the impetus for this case study which contributes further to the debate.
The case study involved six teachers, seven teaching assistants and fourteen learners from three state comprehensive schools, located in one local authority. These included the more typical model where teaching assistants were deployed to support individuals, pairs or groups of learners within the classroom or to work in a different location with a small group of learners withdrawn from the class.
Also observed was a higher level teaching assistant team teaching with a teacher in the classroom and a ordinary level teaching assistant deployed in managing a learning support facility and working independently from the teacher.
Their papers are disorganized, and they misread and misuse texts.
As they break from the five-paragraph essay, they struggle to organize their ideas.
The other looks forward, the teacher teaching the course that will help her finish the next publication.
Both these responses -- using scholarship to feed teaching or teaching to feed scholarship -- depend upon content.The role is also considered in the light of the theories of Bandura, Malaguzzi, Black & William and James et al.In the classroom this means that the learning is not only focused on what the teaching assistant does to support learners but also how learning is supported through the use of specific approaches.They need to learn to read generously and with nuance, to craft subtle arguments in response to the needs of the given situation.I tell my students to return to the text (just as I had to), to reread those difficult passages, to engage the ideas they’d rather leave out because they are confusing and don’t fit within a tidy thesis.Granted, these problems are encountered at different levels -- cutting-edge chemistry research is much different than the 101 lab -- but the core problems of reading the literature, developing a method, carrying out a project, writing it up and editing it are the same.This relationship between research and teaching is partly one of empathy, yes, but more so, it is one where the students see the teacher as fellow practitioner, someone working in the field just as they are.The study was completed within the defined boundaries of three schools and seven lessons.Unlike previous studies which have taken predominantly quantitative approaches and provide a focus on the measurement of learners' attainment, this case study takes a wholly qualitative approach in order to focus closely on the interaction between teachers, teaching assistants and supported learners and how particular models of deployment support learning.That is, the relationship between research and teaching rests upon the ideas students learn.But there’s another way to answer this question, one that depends upon practice. When writing my dissertation, I ran up against two problems. I’d gathered so much research -- had written hundreds of pages of notes and numerous drafts of chapters -- that assembling it into some sort of intelligible, accessible, meaningful piece of writing was daunting. When I turned in my third chapter, all my adviser said was that I was “too breezy with Derrida.” My adviser was gracious; I had fundamentally misread Derrida, reading his parroting of an argument as his own.