Please respond to the following student discussion board. I will attacked the article below that she used to write the discussion below.
After reading, Westing, David; Fox, Lise; Carter, Erick Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities, Chapter 3 Pearson 2015, and finding great reminders in this text, I would like to discuss the strategy of using careful wording and language when collaborating specifically with paraprofessionals. A few barriers to keep in mind when working with paraprofessionals in the classroom, would be: 1) Over the years, paraprofessionals have not received uniformed training, although under the No Child Left Behind act (NCLB) they were/are required to have at least 2 years of college or equivalent. 2) In the Westing article, many of the survey’s conducted shared that paraprofessionals felt that they needed more training for their duties and felt unequipped to follow through with expectations. 3) When paraprofessionals are taught how to use specific instructional practices/procedures/strategies, they have greater success in working with students as they learn new skills. 4) Paraprofessionals need to have their job descriptions and duty assignments, clearly explained to them so that they have an understanding of what they are to be doing.
Given these barriers, it is a firm reminder to Special Education teachers that these amazing individuals that apply to work in our classrooms are not necessarily coming from a background in education. In most instances, they are coming from other facets of life, with a heart of gold and do not understand the technical jargon of education in general and then are expected to fully understand the SpEd teacher speak. It is of upmost importance to limit the SpEd jargon and to clearly define what the task is that we are asking our paraprofessionals to do. Explaining job duties, tasks, job descriptions, expectations in a manner that uses terminology for a layperson proves to more effective to establishing a greater success outcome for the individual whom is working closely with students following procedures that we have asked them to do. For example, in my classroom’s in the past, I’ve supervised upwards of 6 to 7 adults. Out of this group, only 2 had any formal education after high school, the others had years experience in different industries. They loved the students and loved their job, but would come to me to ask for clarification regarding a specific procedure that the OT was asking them to perform. They did not understand the technical jargon of what it meant to implement a sensory diet. I would then re-explain this strategy and it would make sense. So in working with my para’s I encourage them to learn the lingo, but I also make sure that they have a clear explanation of what this means and how to implement it.
Paraprofessionals are not provided a great deal of training prior to their first day on the job in many different areas of the country. As a result, they are expected to be individuals whom have the drive to just jump in and go, yet this practice is frustrating not just for the paraprofessional and teacher but also for the students in whom they are working with. This is a current problem in my present school district, is that paraprofessionals were not required to attend any trainings (nor was I provided time to provide any training) prior to the first day of school starting. In addition, our paraprofessionals are not required to be at school for any teacher in-service training days, they leave early on Fridays, and do not come to school on any teacher workdays. So, when do we train these individuals to work with kids and follow procedures, during the school day if we can find time to do so.
I do know that when I have time to teach paraprofessionals how to implement specific strategies in working with the students in a manner that is clearly laid out, they have a greater success rate in working with students as well as lower frustration level. It is also important to keep in mind that the job duties of the paraprofessional are typically those of supporting student learning and not direct instruction. Many misunderstandings between paraprofessionals, teachers, and other building staff can be avoided when the job duties are clearly defined for all involved. When there is an understanding of exactly what you are to be doing, how to do it, and when to do so, this alleviates most instances of confusion.