Humanistic provisions and the laws favourable to educating persons with special needs established the conditions for great many pupils, sometimes with severe disabilities, coming to school. Thus, a child’s with special needs right to education according to his abilities is realised – not only in special education schools but in secondary schools as well. Although, educating pupils with special needs in a secondary school may become pointless if there are no conditions for all pupils to participate in educational process according to their abilities. Therefore, it is essential to provide such pupils with qualified help of a teacher’s assistant, while educating with a child with significant or severe special needs, a teacher’s assistant with special preparation for this particular work is needed; yet, employees of this speciality are not prepared in Lithuania.
This Master’s thesis is aimed at determining the essential professional competences of a teacher’s assistant who works in a starting class at a secondary school; these are necessary while educating children with special needs; also, at creating the conditions to learn according to individual needs in order to develop the environment most suitable for these children.
The object of the research is the professional competence(s) of a teacher’s assistant of starting classes at a secondary school. The aim of the research is to create the model of professional competences of a teacher’s assistant working with starting classes.
During the research, literature related to competences was analysed, the functions of a teacher’s assistant were defined and the type of help needed by starting classes teachers, as well as suggestions on the competencies content of a teacher’s assistant, were rendered.
The analysis of scientific literature and legal acts proved that a teacher assistant’s professional competences can be defined in the following activity spheres – meeting the special needs of the learner; assistance in organising educational process; communication and collaboration.
Referring to the empirical research, it could be stated that a teacher’s assistant most often performs functions related to educational process; consequently, there should be relatively high degree of pedagogical competence which is indispensable in increasing the efficiency of learning by pupils with special educational needs. The research revealed that pedagogical and psychological knowledge is instrumental in a teacher assistant’s work to help teachers and pupils with special needs in educational process; yet, according to the teachers interviewed, the majority of starting classes’ teacher assistants lack this knowledge.
Raktažodžiai: Special needs, teacher’s assistant, competences