Assistant teacher course/Psychology and metacognition
An assistant teacher program at a school employs the office of assistant teacher as learning motivation for all pupils but a side-effect can be a motivation for segregation. Assistant teachers could, for instance, be called strivers by some of their peers and assistant teachers might feel superior to their peers for no better reason than their office. Bad reasons for segregation exist on both sides. The assistant teachers, as pedagogues and causers, could see it as their obligation to lessen the problem.
An effect of a successful assistant teacher effort should be that the assistant teachers are positive role models, not artificial negative role models (e.g. strivers) and that the assistant teachers understand the responsibility of their office and feel no need to appear superior due to their office. The positive role model of the assistant teacher is meant to displace the abundance of insufficient or negative role models pupils more usually provide to their peers.
The office of assistant teacher can provide a motivation for dispute. This motivation can be used for the beneficial effect to teach dispute resolution and a constructive culture of criticism.
While the potential for segregation is an inevitable side-effect of an assistant teacher effort it exaggerates a segregation effect between good and less good pupils that may exist in a class anyway. The exaggerated effect can help pupils to devise counter-measures which may be beneficial beyond the exaggerated challenge.
Psychology of pupils
A possible psychological effect is that a pupil could view the exclusive attention of an assistant teacher (given to an especially bothersome pupil) as a desirable situation, even when sent to the back of the room for separation. This way a pupil would be guided to provoke the exclusive attention of an assistant teacher.
If very proficient pupils are allowed to leave the class for assistant teacher duty, library work or advanced courses the effect on other pupils is likely to be beneficial. In terms of big-fish-little-pond effect and assimilation effect the less good pupils in a class can receive additional motivation through the occasional absence of more proficient peers but can receive at the same time the additional motivation of a higher level of proficiency in their social environment. The higher level of proficiency of the assistant teachers should not contribute to either effect because the assistant teachers aren't competitors for the attention of a teacher.
The answer to what an assistant teacher can do can be found in the test itself, because an assistant teacher can ask questions about an exercise. An instructor can help along by asking "What does this text do? What am I doing just now?" Raising a hand is, of course, not the problem; an assistant teacher just shouldn't waste the lecturer's time if that can be avoided.
The participants should previously have conducted a Sally-Anne test. Some questions in the course unit Segregation and other units already required a degree of metacognition; this unit aims to go further and to make the pupils think more abstractly about metacognition.
An important observation is that understanding can refer to relations between knowledge that has been understood but which a pupil may not have deduced himself. The intellectual capacity includes the ability of a pupil to deduce previously unknown relations of knowledge himself.
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