Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Successful Supervision of Paraeducators in Special Education

008I attended this session presented by Dr. Laura Mohr of Mohr Educational Associates at the SC Council for Exceptional Children conference this past weekend and really thought this was an awesome presentation. I don’t think teachers get enough training about supervising Paraeducators. I’m not sure that there is a course in college that covers this at all. When I was a brand new teacher, I was hired for a self contained class and suddenly had a paraeducator. Not only didn’t I have any clue about being a teacher, but all of a sudden I’m a supervisor! I’m really glad to see presentations like this because I see a real need for them.

Here are my notes from this session:

Para means “along side of.”

A paraeducator is one who works with and under the supervision of a professional educator.

Research on Teacher’s Supervision and Training of Paraeducators:
1. “Frequency of meetings” is single indicator of quality supervision.
2. Length of teaching experience did not predict supervisory skills.
3. Formal education plus inservice training predicted supervisory skills.
4. Teachers didn’t want to supervise even though they valued help of Paraeducators.
5. Teachers were reluctant to supervise because they didn’t do written plans or hold sit-down meetings, yet were dissatisfied with communication between Paraeducators and themselves.
6. Teachers reported they had scheduled no time to plan.
7. 30% of teachers reported they never had “face to face” with Paraeducators.

Supervision requires “face to face” contact, planning for and with the paraeducator.

Teacher Competencies for Paraeducator Supervision:
1. Communicating with Paraeducators
2. Planning and scheduling with Paraeducators
3. Providing instructional support
4. Managing the work of Paraeducators
5. Providing on-the-job training
6. Delegating appropriate tasks

Professional Roles of the Teacher
1. Assessment
2. Planning
3. Instructing/Managing
4. Collaborating and Consulting
5. Supervising Paraeducators

Paraeducator Roles
1. Assist and contribute in these ways:
2. Collect student data/chart frequency of behaviors for teacher to use in assessment and decision making
3. Provide instructional support as directed by teacher
4. Manage student behavior according to teacher plans
5. Modify and adapt instructional materials based on directions from special and/or general ed teachers
6. Assist with clerical/housekeeping tasks, organizing and maintaining the environment and personal care

Paraeducator Competencies:
Council for Exceptional Children has a CEC Knowledge and Skill Base for All Beginning Special Education Paraeducators
1. Foundations of Exceptional Children
2. Development and Characteristics of Learners
3. Individual Learning Differences
4. Instructional Strategies
5. Learning Environments and Social Interactions
6. Language
7. Instructional Planning
8. Assessment

Handouts included:
1. Educator and Paraeducator Communication Inventory
2. Schedule and information Planning for the paraeducator
3. Educator/Paraeducator Planning (Duties for staff)
4. Work Style Preferences
5. Problem Solving Vignette
6. Educator and Paraeducator: Complementary Roles
7. Paraeducator - Student Support Plan

My thoughts:

I thought this was an excellent session! I will use this information to share with others and also use it in my graduate class. I think the more training given to teachers, the more successful the students will be.

What suggestions do you have with working with a paraeducator? Please share!

Original Image by Pat Hensley

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