Open Polytechnic offers new teacher aide certificate

Posted on 27 August 2009

A new qualification aims to help teacher aides in New Zealand primary schools upgrade their skills and qualifications to meet the growing responsibilities of their job.

The new Open Polytechnic Certificate in Teacher Aiding offers specialised electives in key areas such as supporting special education learners, bicultural awareness, ICT, behaviour guidance, working in a school library and supporting English language learners.

“Our research into the work of today’s teacher aides found that they are expected to do more and be accountable for more than in the past - it’s no longer just about helping teachers prepare resources, listening to children read or supervising groups”, says Sue Armour, Programme Leader for the certificate at Open Polytechnic.

“Many teacher aides are now responsible for implementing children’s learning and behaviour goals, as well as being expected to have specific skills in curriculum areas and technology. Some teacher aides also have a limited authority to teach. The work is becoming more professional and more demanding.”

“In response to this Open Polytechnic developed the Certificate in Teacher Aiding to prepare teacher aides for these added roles and responsibilities.” The new certificate is now open for enrolment and interest has been high, says Ms Armour

Ms Armour says the certificate is aimed at practising teacher aides who want to upgrade their skills, people who are interested in becoming teacher aides on a paid or voluntary basis, or parents who would like to understand more about how and what their children learn.

Taught by distance education the NZQA-approved Certificate in Teacher Aiding is a 40 credit qualification, replacing the Polytechnic’s former 20 credit Teacher Aide Certificate. Students currently studying towards the 20 credit qualification have the option of upgrading to the Certificate in Teacher Aiding when they successfully complete their studies.

Ms Armour says that schools will still continue to recognise the 20 credit qualification. However, graduates of that qualification who would like further professional development may choose to upgrade to the Certificate in Teacher Aiding. Those upgrading will have all their credits from the Teacher Aide Certificate transferred to the new qualification.

“This teacher aide qualification will equip teacher aides and Correspondence School supervisors with the key understanding, skills and knowledge they need to confidently and effectively support children’s learning in primary school settings across the country.”