The role of the Classroom Assistant (CA) is crucial in providing targeted help to pupils, supporting children with complex mental health needs, managing behaviour and providing pastoral support. However, training for CAs tends to focus on providing academic support and “hard skills” rather than the management of behaviour and emotional support.
This project will use VR to develop a relevant soft-skills training programme for CAs. The training will cover areas such as how to observe and identify risk, how to interact with children in specific situations, and how to appropriately manage those with autism. In the VR environment learners will experience realistic, emotive situations in which they must make decisions and then experience the results of those decisions.
By using a virtual environment CAs will be able to observe and interact in low-risk scenarios, providing a safe place to learn from experimentation and mistakes and avoiding the risks associated with training in a real classroom environment. The progress of the CA will be recorded in real-time, feedback will be provided, and records provided to staff to assess progress.