Dissertation Classroom Assistants

Dissertation Classroom Assistants-70
Where my dissertation influences my teaching is not so much through its content but by the lessons I learned writing it.I find that my students often have the same problems I did (and do).

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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.

I want them to see my typos, my clumsy sentences, my disorganized arguments not yet formed.

This research focuses on the ways in which teaching assistants are deployed to support learning in secondary schools and investigates the effect of the different deployment approaches used.

Data were collected through a four stage approach that began with joint semi-structured interviews with pairs of teaching assistants and teachers.

Joint interviews were followed by lesson observations.

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.

During a job interview last year, I was asked this question: “You’ve just written a highly specialized dissertation. ” I’ve been thinking a lot about that question since, not only for the assumption it makes -- that the research would, and even should, influence teaching -- but also for how it acknowledges the difficulty of it all, its “highly specialized” recognizing that advanced research would need to be somehow tailored to fit an undergraduate classroom.

And for that, the question addresses how attuned a teacher is to that classroom, how aware a teacher is of what the students are grasping and how adept a teacher is at adapting subject matter to a given audience. One looks backward: the teacher draws upon her previous scholarship for course material, teaching last year’s publication (or, if not the publication itself, then at least its arguments and findings).


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