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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Perceptions of the role of the learning assistance teacher Cullis, Janet Iris


A relationship between the perceptions of the Learning Assistance Teacher (LAT), the Classroom Teacher, the School Principal and the District Staff of the role of the LAT is examined through the use of a questionnaire employing a Likert-type scale. The study explored, described and attempted to compare the perceptions of these key observers in one school district in British Columbia. This study involved a comparative study method. Questionnaires were sent to key observers to obtain their perceptions of the role of the LAT within their school. The individuals represented two levels of district organizational structure - within school personnel and district personnel. The within school personnel could be further sub-divided into administrative and teaching personnel. The data were analyzed descriptively, a comparative analysis between the key observers was taken, the inter-group correlation for the key observers was examined, and the relative ranking of responses for the four groups was examined. It is argued that these findings can be attributed, in part, to the speculative conclusions in the following areas: 1. The consultation area of the LAT role is still a significant problem. 2. The out-of-school and within-school groups have differing perceptions. 3. The within-school personnel have highly correlated perceptions which may be due to the level of inservice training and/or written district policy and school objectives and goals for the LAT. 4. The increased level of education for the classroom teacher and LAT may have led to an increasing commonality of perception of the LAT role. 5. This district rates consultation and cooperative planning much higher than Dugoff, Ives and Shotel's (1985) research. This may be due to the increasing trend to service children with mild handicaps within the regular classroom. This district is moving toward total integration. Further research is needed to see to what extent the perceived role matches the actual role, what the desired or preferred role of the LAT is for these key observers, and what value the role has on learner outcomes. Possible pilot studies of other ways to meet students needs are suggested.

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