The role of Educational Assistants in inclusive education within the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board
LE3 .A278 2011
Aylward, M. Lynn
Master of Education
The aim of this research was to develop an understanding of the intended role of the Educational Assistant in the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board as described by the guiding policies and documents in comparison to the actual role of the Educational Assistants. Data for this study was generated through a review of three key documents and policies, and listening to the viewpoints of the Educational Assistants via an online survey and ten semi-structured interviews. A comparison of the prescribed role of the Educational Assistant as determined by the guiding policies revealed many inconsistencies. A number of concerning discoveries arose through the online surveys and interviews including: some Educational Assistants reported spending more than half their day participating in activities traditionally designated to classroom teachers; a significant majority are maintaining a close proximity of students with special needs and are not concerned about the effects; and classroom teacher relationships with students with special needs were reported to vary significantly in levels of involvement. Positively, the research indicated that the majority of Educational Assistants reported being comfortable with the supports they are asked to provide as well as feeling adequately trained and prepared. Although the latest educational policies from the Nova Scotia Department of Education are grounded in contemporary inclusive educational practices, this research demonstrates that the lived role of the Educational Assistant is not completely compatible with policy intentions.
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