What do elves wish for? A new look at the role of teacher aides

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Yeigh, T & Evans, K 2014, 'What do elves wish for? A new look at the role of teacher aides', Proceedings of Australian Teacher Education Association: Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia, 6-9 July, ATEA, pp. 317-347.

Available open access

Peer Reviewed



This article reports on research investigating the role of teacher aides (TAs) working in an Australian high school that caters for a diverse range of student needs. Using a mixed-methods approach, nine TAs and seven students from the school participated in interviews and a questionnaire, designed to elicit their attitudes and perceptions concerning teacher aide training and professional development needs. Study findings support several important issues identified in the existing literature on utilising TAs in schools, yet the TAs here also identified novel skills and attributes as additional areas of specific developmental need. Both aides and students also expressed clear expectations that the aides were responsible for various pedagogical outcomes. These findings are important because they offer insights into aide deployment from the POV of the TAs themselves. From this perspective, particular recommendations concerning the development of TAs are made, and directions for future research are identified.