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Assistant teacher course/Introduction

Welcome lectureEdit

This course consists of passages that address course instructors, passages that address participants and handouts for participants. Text for participants is marked as shown in the following example. It is recommended that underlined words are discussed with the participants. The assistant teachers should keep all their notes throughout the course for the book project.

This is an example for text that addresses the participants directly. The text is not meant as a handout but can be used to prepare a speech or can be shown on a board during a lecture.


Lectures with discussions should be held in small groups. The recommended size for discussion groups is less than fifteen pupils. In small groups the lecturer can make sure that every participant can contribute at some time. Involvement is particularly important to help the participants to make the goals of the course their own goals. An open-ended book project at the end of the course can also promote this attitude.

A possible mode for lectures is that individual participants are given the task to hold a part of a lecture and that the course instructor responsible for the group monitors the lecture and merely offers advice or intervenes when necessary. The primary reason is that this can increase the involvement of the participants, the training effect is secondary here (although pupils are likely to see the training effect as the purpose).

IntroductionEdit

The first text is the welcome and introduction to the course for the participants.

Welcome to the assistant teacher course.
What should the office of an assistant teacher mean to you?

  • It should mean to you that your teachers trust you to recognize the responsibility of the office and to see yourself as service providers, not as wise guys.
  • The office can also be seen as a social status. The status can motivate other pupils, which means assistant teachers have the moral obligation to be positive role models and to motivate other pupils.
  • As an assistant teacher you should learn to take the view of a teacher. What is the view of a teacher?


Purpose and goalsEdit

What is the purpose of this assistant teacher effort and what are further goals?

  • What can be your personal learning goals as an assistant teacher?
  • What can be other personal goals as an assistant teacher?
  • Which goals should the community aim for?


The participants should be given time to write down their own, personal answers before a discussion. The following discussion should invite participants to debate on different views. As an instructor you should aim to emphasize varieties for the purpose.

Code of conductEdit

The next text invites assistant teachers to develop their own code of conduct for their office over the next three weeks.

What will be your code of conduct as assistant teachers?
Over the next three weeks you will have plenty of opportunity to reflect on the work of an assistant teacher. Please make notes for yourself what could be part of a sensible code of conduct for assistant teachers. At some time in the course we will get back to your ideas for a code of conduct. You can make notes on

  • how assistant teachers should behave towards other pupils,
  • what behavior assistant teachers should avoid and
  • how assistant teachers should cooperate with teachers, including other assistant teachers.

How do your ideas relate to the categorical imperative?


Psychology of the officeEdit

The following text invites the pupils to consider the psychology of the office.

What are the psychological effects potentially caused by assistant teachers?

  • Effects on pupils
    • concerning motivation?
    • concerning self-reliance?
    • ...
  • Effects on assistant teachers
    • concerning self-esteem?
    • concerning segregation?
    • ...

If the office can increase your self-esteem and promote segregation you might want to counter some of the resulting effects consciously.


Citizenship educationEdit

The last text pertains to citizenship education.

Assistant teachers need to cooperate and need to be able to make decisions as a group. Assistant teachers can also accept responsibility to take care of citizenship education.

  • Should the assistant teachers form a meritocracy or invite the pupils to govern the issues of assistant teachers in a democratic fashion from the outset?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of either?


A meritocracy may have the effect to require frequent revision of policies when new assistant teachers join the group. Is that an advantage or disadvantage? A meritocracy can also motivate other pupils to form a democratic council and to overrule the meritocracy. Even having failed to do so can provide motivation to improve democratic participation in retrospect. One could see a solution which is likely to be seen as suboptimal (meritocracy) as the more educative approach here. That view may come as a bit of a surprise for pupils who have previously learned in a class council to prefer a democratic approach but the sudden reversal of a previously learned position may encourage the participants to reconsider their positions and to take a different perspective as teachers.

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