Children learn by absorbing information

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My chosen age range for this assignment is 7-12 years and my choice of development is communication. Children learn by absorbing information through daily interactions and experiences with other children, adults and the world.

At the stage of 7-12 years their comprehension and use of language will become more sophisticated. Usually kids will understand more vocabulary words and concepts then they may be able to express. It is also important that “children begin to learn about themselves. The value of knowing thyself is so undisputed as to be a cliché, but conveying to children that they are worth knowing about seems fundamental to healthy self respect and self esteem.”

Although everybody hopes children will develop their communication skills at a normal rate there may be factors that can slow this down. One factor is a child's health, for example, she may have problems with her hearing. The child may become distressed in certain situations where they are not able to communicate their feelings or needs. Another example is culture. Culture influences every aspect of human development and is reflected in families' childrearing beliefs and practices. A child may adapt well in a different cultural surrounding but others may find it difficult communicating outside of their comfort zone. This would make things difficult for the child and she may become withdrawn.

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It can be very frustrating for a child not to be able to communicate with others. It may affect all areas of their holistic development. Social development is something that would be largely affected because a child can react badly in social situations due to not being able to communicate. If she is unable to communicate in social situations this could cause the child to act out and withdraw.

Intellectual development is also a main development for the child that will be affected if she is having difficulty expressing herself. She may not advance in her work as she should. This would cause the child to be very upset and frustrated. (Emotional development)

There are things a teaching assistant can do with the child to support them in their communication development. You could play a simple question and answers game. When asking questions try and ensure that you prompt answers beyond yes and no. This will help encourage a more developed conversation. You can also encourage her to read stories that are slightly above her level, doing this will also help her confidence. Before you start a task with the children “you will need to know exactly how you are required to support the children and this should be made clear when you plan activities with the teacher.”

Children often get distracted so it is important as a teaching assistant that you make things as exciting and interesting. Such as if you were reading a story to the child or they were reading to you, make it animated and adopt a variety of voices for different characters. It is also important to ensure the child does not get distracted by objects around them by removing items that do not need to be there. This will mean less chance of the child fiddling and losing focus.

It is important as a teaching assistant to support a child whilst they are developing; there are many different ways to do this. Such as if the child was reading stories above their level a teaching assistant is able to give the child one on one help that the teacher may find difficult to give. The child may need gentle encouragement from time to time and to know that there is extra help if she needs it. Allow her to find words that are familiar and give them time to spell out difficult words, but always be ready to assist. This will give the child more confidence and they will develop at a quicker rate. They may need words explained that they can read but don't understand, this will help them get an understanding of the story and they will be able to explain it to other people as well. You can also find out how much the child understood the story and benefited from your help by asking questions and allow them to ask you questions so they know you were paying attention and they can find key words in your answers that they may use. Make sure you ask the questions at the end though so as not to distract the child. Always ensure you have up to date information about the child's language and communication skills. This will help you understand how much help the child will need.

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As a teaching assistant it is essential to know the importance of the curriculum and what levels the children should be achieving at what stages. An example of this is when a child is reading there are certain things that a teaching assistant and a teacher are looking for, such as if the child can understand the text and confidently read at a basic level, recognise punctuation and the difference between capitals and lower case letters. All of this and more is needed for the child to advance to a higher level and keep up with the curriculum. It also helps the teacher understand at what level the child is at and how much assistants they may need. This is one of the many reasons why it is important for a teacher and a teaching assistant to have good communication as the teaching assistant may be required to work with an individual group and give the teacher feedback as to their progress.

A teaching assistant is there to assist the teacher. There may be 30 children in the classroom; this makes it difficult for the teacher to assist all of the children in a set time. A teaching assistant should observe children regularly so as to assist when needed and to report necessary incidents and anything else of importance to the teacher. This way the child's development should progress steadily. It is important for a teaching assistant to have the same knowledge of the children and the curriculum as the teacher this will make it easier for the teaching assistant to know what is expected of each child and what is essential to report back to the teacher.

Although academic teaching is important to the child's development so is play. This is important because the child learns through play how to socialise; it also helps develop many physical skills, both fine and gross motor. During play the child is able to communicate in their own way and in a relaxed environment. Also the child is unaware of it but they are preparing for future roles whilst having fun, example she may hold a doll whilst rocking it to sleep like a mother would do to a baby. They can also act out scenes from home whether they are bad or good this will help the teaching assistant and teacher with observations on the child. All of this will help the child develop at a good rate. It is a good chance for them to learn through all of their p.i.l.e.s. without being aware they are learning whilst having fun.

Children go through many important stages and transitions in their lives. As a teaching assistant there may be times when you need to support the child through one of these transitions. Such as when a child is preparing to advance in to the next year of school. This is a distressing time for the child because they have become accustomed to their old year, classroom and teacher. A teaching assistant can make this easier for the child by reassuring her, letting her know that she can come and express her feelings to you. It will help the child to know that even if the teacher is occupied then there is someone she can go to.

It is important to support the child through their school years but it is also vital to use your observations to help the teacher. She relies on assistants when she is occupied, so a teaching assistant's observations are essential. If the teacher is busy with one group of children then she is unable to fully observe others. A teaching assistant is able to observe the child whilst giving help. This way she can pass on essential information to the teacher. This is a example of how a teaching assistants role is just as important to the child as a teachers role is.

References

Page 1 “ children need to begin to learn about themselves. The value of knowing thyself is so undisputed as to be a cliché but conveying to children that they are worth knowing about seems fundamental to healthy self respect and self esteem”

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Page 2 “ you will need to be sure exactly how you are required to support children and this should be made clear when you plan activities with the teacher”

Bibliography

Page 2 Burnham L (2003) The Teaching Assistants Handbook. Your roles and responsibilities for supporting pupils' learning. Oxford, Heineman Education Publishers. P56

Page 1 Holistic Education (2003) Holistic Education: An introduction, page 3 (internet) available from (http:// www.holistic - education.net/ visitors3.htm/>(Accessed 12 January 2010)