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Do learning support assistants’ perceptions of their role support the capability approach?: A small-scale study in a Jordanian international school

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Research in International Education
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)19-32
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article reports on a small-scale study which explored the perceptions of learning support assistants (LSAs) about how they facilitate learner agency and wellbeing, two key facets of the capability approach. Interviews were conducted with ten LSAs working in an international school to investigate whether LSAs support aspects of this theoretical framework within their role, where their efficacy is often valued by the quantity of time they spend with the child rather than the quality of the support provided. The capability approach was utilised as an analytic framework by using the four capability approach categories which Sen (1999) argues can evaluate human life: wellbeing achievements, agency achievements, wellbeing freedoms, and agency freedoms. The findings from the study indicate that whilst LSAs did support key aspects of the capability approach, they felt unsure if every part of their role could be based on it due to a range of factors beyond their control, such as parental expectations and the school’s deployment of the LSAs. Possibilities for future research, such as the impact of higher-education on LSAs’ ability to further the capability approach, are discussed briefly.