TEACHER ASSISTANTS AND THEIR ROLES IN PRESCHOOLS: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR MALAYSIAN PRESCHOOLS (63 - 68)
The objective of the article is identifying who is a teacher assistant to create a conceptual framework on the need for deploying them to preschools. Preschools have existed all life long, and the population of preschoolers is always on the rise as the population of the country increases. As such, preschools have taken priority in any education system as a sound basic education forms the basis of creating excellent children in the future. Today preschool set ups have become lucrative business. Following this there is a dire need to provide the best education in every center. This can only be achieved if teacher pupil ratio is small and the classroom management is excellent. But this is not the case in many instances. Sometimes there are as many as 30 pupils in one class, as observed by the researcher herself. This becomes a nightmare to teachers. In order to combat this problem, teacher aides are available. They do most chores except teaching. This article, which forms the first in a series of four articles, looks at the existing state of teacher assistants’ roles in other countries and puts forward the idea of providing teacher assistants in Malaysian preschools. The author envisages their role as an asset, yet some might argue they are a liability. Whatever the argument, the wellbeing of children takes priority and it is dependent on classroom management which is influenced by workload of teachers, quality of teaching and the types of teachers.