Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Canadian Scholars’ Press
Approx. 270 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
August 2019
Print ISBN: 9781773381121
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A ground-breaking new textbook, The Role of an Education Assistant offers guidance and insight to students who are learning about the growing and complex role of education assistants. This includes how to support academic, social, inclusive, and independent learning environments in schools and collaborate with parents and teachers in the planning and evaluation of student progress. Divided into four sections, this text addresses education assistant professional standards, mental health and wellness, culture and diversity, and the challenge of supporting all students in the classroom. Professionals and scholars contribute to research, anecdotes, practical insights from the field, and discussion questions to encourage student reflection and professional preparation. Offering practical guidance for inter-professional collaboration and inclusive education, this seminal text will prepare students in education studies, education assistant programs, and early childhood education for rewarding careers in the industry.


  • begins with an introduction from editors who have decades of combined professional experience in child and youth social work, as educators in inclusive environments, and as university and college instructors
  • provides a Canada-wide perspective from both accomplished scholars and experienced professionals
  • covers the large scope of student learning stages, from early years, through adolescence, to adulthood
  • highlights the changing and broadening expectations of education assistants and offers relevant guidance on how to meet diverse needs in modern classrooms

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Catriona Johnson


Section I: The Education Assistant

Role of an Education Assistant

Chapter 1: From the Margins to the Centre: Education Assistants as Inclusion Facilitators
Cornelia Schneider

Chapter 2: Education Assistants as Advocates
Alison Taplay and Joanie Chestnut

The Education Assistant as a Professional

Chapter 3: What Makes an Outstanding Education Assistant? Best Practices in the Field
Victoria Johnston-Hatch

Chapter 4: The Education Assistant–Teacher Partnership in the Classroom: Maximizing Returns
Nan Stevens and Susan McKay

Section II: Mental Health and Wellness


Chapter 5: Understanding and Honouring Communicative Intent: Shifting from Judgment to Curiosity with Kindness and Intention
Jane Green, Michelle Pozin, and Lisa Gates

Chapter 6: Trauma Sensitivity in the Classroom: Developing Trusting Relationships
Mary Harber and Asha Rao

Social Emotional Learning

Chapter 7: Social and Emotional Learning and the Work of Education Assistants
Nancy Norman, Janine Fajenski, and Jessica Mantel

Chapter 8: The Role of the Education Assistant in Developing Play, Recreation, and Social Skills
Joan Astren

Chapter 9: Finding Connection: Developing Social Competence
Mary Harber

Section III: Cultural Diversity


Chapter 10: Cultural Safety: A Foundation for Working with Indigenous Students
Joanne Mitchell


Chapter 11: Response-able Pedagogy: Fostering a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Educational Environment
Greg Ogilvie

Chapter 12: The Role of Education Assistants in Helping “Young Ambassadors” Form Self-Determined Identities
Jeffrey MacCormack and Lindsay Morcom

Section IV: Supporting All Students

Classroom Inclusion

Chapter 13: Education Assistants as Inclusive Leaders in Classrooms
Linda Hill


Chapter 14: Supporting Academics
Heather Wik and Barbara Eckersley

Chapter 15: Collaborative Strategies and Resources for the Classroom
Kyla Cleator

Chapter 16:Transition: The Journey to Adulthood
Asha Rao and Jane Litman

Contributors Biographies

Mary Harber

Mary Harber BA, BSW, MSW, has been a social worker and educator for the past 30 years, supporting individuals, families, and communities in the areas of substance use and prevention, trauma support, and creative intervention methods in practice. She has worked in the field of disabilities with a focus on healthy sexuality, social competence, and diverse learning needs. She teaches at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia, and believes in the capacity of innovation and creativity to facilitate change.

Asha Rao

Asha Rao is program lead and faculty in the Education Assistant and Community Support Program and faculty in the Community, Family, and Child Studies Department at Camosun College. She has been an educator locally and internationally for over 16 years and focuses her work on inclusive education, mental health and wellness, and creativity in practice.


“This text provides insight and strategies for education assistants and teachers to work together to create truly inclusive and supportive classrooms for all students. To build effective teams, all educators will benefit from the roadmap to success detailed in these pages. Facilitating a safe, caring school experience that maximizes learning for Canada’s diverse population is the shared vision, and The Role of an Education Assistant offers current, practical steps to get there.”

“Current, relevant, accessible, thoughtful, and CANADIAN… The Role of an Education Assistant does a masterful job of providing clarity on the evolution of the role of an education assistant and highlighting the value this educational team member plays in the inclusion of ALL students. I look forward to exploring the chapters’ key ideas as well as engaging in discussion with my students around the questions for reflection.”

Student Resources

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