Welcome to Session III: On-the-Job Training with your Paraeducator…Prerecorded Session.
Audio: Does your Paraeducator “help” or “hover”? An assistant who “hovers” over a single student or focuses only on IEP students in a general ed classroom, or latches onto only one student in a special education class. This “hovering” is not beneficial to the student(s) for several reasons. First “One-on-One’s” tend to promote over-segregation, isolation from the group, and are not cost effective. Furthermore, the primary role of any Paraeducator is to support and assist teacher-directed instruction, NOT to work with only specified students. Remember, IDEA states that Paraeducators can work with students, but only if they are “appropriately supervised and trained.” First, as stated in Session I, paraeducators need to clearly understand their roles and how they differ from the supervising teacher’s role in the education of SWDs. Second, as stated in Session II, teachers and paraeducators need to engage in positive communication skills and act as a team. It is up to the supervising teacher to demonstrate appropriate modeling to his or her paraeducator(s) and provide effective feedback so as to increase their para’s efficacy.We do this as teachers by seeing ourselves as mentors to our paraeducators… (lead-in to next slide)
We will discuss some of the ways in this prerecorded session and the rest during the live session on Nov. 19th. Dr. Kent Gerlach, from Pacific Lutheran University out of Tacoma, WA, is a leading authority on Paraeducator training. According to Dr. Gerlach, some ways a teacher can be a good mentor are as follows: [Click to next slide]
Set expectations for your paraeducators performance. Be very clear about discussing what you expect them to do in their role as an assisstant. Don’t give them responsibilities that don’t align with their roles.Offer challenging ideas. Model for your paraeducator how you want them to deliver instruction, prompt instruction, collect data, and reinforce behavior strategies. Even though your para may have a lot of previous experience, if he or she are new to working with you, they may not understand your teaching style or strategies you use with the students. Help build self-confidence. Many Paras have only a high school education or some college and if they are a new hire, they may have had no exposure to working with SWDs. We can build their self-confidence by training them in the areas identified in a needs assessment (which will be discussed in our Session III live session), allowing them opportunities to practice what they’ve been trained in, and providing effective feedback. Paraeducators want to feel they are an essential team member in working with SWDs and building their self-confidence through training, guided practice, and feedback will increase Para efficacy.Encourage ethical and professional behavior. SWDs usually have extensive health, educational, and social-emotional histories. It is important that we as teachers emphasize to our Paras the confidential nature of our students’ personal histories and not to share this private information with anyone that does not work directly with a SWD. Ethics or the practice of ethical behavior, is “doing what’s right when no one’s looking.” Emphasize to your Para the importance of always respecting the health, safety, and dignity of the students they work with.Offer support. Let your Para know that he or she is part of a team and SWDs could not be successfully educated on general education campuses without the teacher-paraeducator teams. Offer guidance, feedback, and support when your Paraeducator is following your instructional lead during a small group or individual re-teaching or reviewing session. Encourage your para to ask for clarification if he or she does not understand how provide supportive instruction in a lesson or activity.I have just described 5 of the 17 ways a teacher can mentor his or her Paraeducator. Can you think of the other ways we can support our Paras? We will discuss the rest of the ways Dr. Gerlach advises teachers and administrators to support Paras during our Session III live session.
What does it mean to be a mentor? Take a few moments to read this slide and ask yourself, “Do I mentor my Paraeducator right now?” According to Tim Mooney and Robert Brinkerhoff from the book, “Courageous Training,” “One of the best ways we can support our Paras is through ongoing performance improvement. Learning is most fragile when it is new, since it so often competes with more ingrained behavior styles and habits. Anyone who has ever taken a golf or tennis lesson has probably experienced this firsthand. What we were able to accomplish fairly well under the watchful eye of the coach in a controlled practice session is much more difficult to execute in the less controlled environment of game conditions.” Similarly, the new capability, that seemed so clear when shown under the teacher’s direct supervision, becomes more difficult than we thought when students, fellow employees, or work problems are staring us in the face. “It takes continued and frequent practice of new skills to deepen and expand them, and sometimes the workplace, with its own internal stresses and demands, can be a hostile environment for taking risks and trying new things. Lasting performance almost always requires coaching, frequent feedback, opportunities to try new behaviors and take risks, effective direction and goal setting, simple reminders to enhance mind-share, incentives and rewards, and so on. These follow-up methods take time and focused energy, especially when the change that training seeks is in a direction and likely to fly in the face of the way things traditionally have been done.”
Audio: Observation is a strategy for support, not for evaluation. Pay attention to your para’s concerns, model being an effective listener, and ask questions. Let’s look closer at what the teacher’s and administrator’s respective roles are in observing and providing feedback to paraeducators.
The word “monitoring” implies observation. Observation of paraeducator task performance and behavior is essential to performance monitoring and to the feedback and evaluation process. The teacher has to recognize that observing the paraeducator is a legitimate use of his or her time and must accept that he or she will have to step outside an instructional role for a few minutes at a time.Administrators must support teachers by first recognizing that responsibility for monitoring the work of paraeducators is legitimately within the teacher’s role. Support for teachers in this role requires 2 things of administrators. First, it requires that administrators hold teachers responsible and accountable for their programs, just as team leaders in businesses are held accountable for the production of their teams. Second, it demands that administrators provide support to teachers in terms of on-the-job training, coaching, and feedback to teachers on their supervisory skills.
Unfocused Observations:Unfocused observations might consider the Para’s personal style such as voice, gestures, or nonverbal communications or on the content or organization of a lesson or materials. It could also focus on the para’s interactions with students, their behavior management skills, or time management. This type of observation gives the teacher a global, “big picture” idea of the Paraeducator’s overall skills and interpersonal style with adults and students. It also lets the teacher collect several different types of data in a few minutes.
Example of Focused Observation: Teacher wants to know if her Para is using open-ended questions as a way to get students to respond more completely. The focus of subsequent observations might tally the total number of questions asked during an observation and the number of them that were open- or closed-ended.Scripting is writing down all words spoken in a short period of time and can be used to examine the ratio of student talk to adult talk.Selective verbatim focuses on preselected events such as questioning levels, frequency of questions and clarity of directions word-for-word. Most administrators are familiar with these techniques and by coaching their teachers in the use of these observational techniques, they are optimizing the supervision of paraeducators.
Audio:Share the results of your observations with your para, always working within the context of the goals you’ve agreed on and the individual and group discussions that have already taken place. This will help you give targeted feedback. Be supportive and constructive and offer lots of praise for what’s going well.Audio: What do Paraeducators Expect from Supervisors? According to Dr. Kent Gerlach, there are 9 expectations Paraeducators have:To accept the value of paraeducators in education for providing instructional assistance as well as community input. Be sensitive to the feelings and needs of children. Provide educational leadership; include me in the planning, give me meaningful assignments and clear directions. Explain the rules for student behavior and provide support when I am working with students.Give me honest feedback and evaluation of my performance in a confidential manner; praise me for what I do well and offer suggestions for improvement (this one will be our focus for Session III). Respect my individuality; recognize and utilize my talents in classroom activities. Accept me as a member of the school staff, both professionally and socially. Inform me of training opportunities and encourage me to participate. Believe that the paraeducator and teacher should be a working team.
Audio: Turn-about is fair play, so what do you expect from your paraeducators? Dr. Gerlach also lists 9 expectations supervising teachers have for their paraeducators. See how many of these you agree with. Can you add anymore expectations to this list?Have a “good attitude” toward the school and its personnel; like and respect children and have a desire to work with them. Be dependable in promptness and attendance, reliable in job performance and discreet in confidential matters. Be able to assist in the instructional process, and to share perceptions of student’s progress and needs. Be able to perform non-instructional duties such as record keeping, classroom maintenance, preparation of bulletin boards and learning materials. Be able to give help and assistance without being asked. To use good judgment when unusual situations arise. Be a liaison between school and community; interpret community values and concerns to the school and those of the school to the community. Participate in training to develop skills and become a more effective paraeducator. Believe that the paraeducator and teacher should be a working team.
Read what’s on slide first.Example:During a practice activity on a social skills instruction, the teacher stops a paraeducator who forgets one step in the sequence and offers a cue that serves to assist the para remember how to present information to students. The instructor then watches the complete instructional sequence a second time and points out how the para was able to complete the sequence independently. When combined with practice, feedback substatntially boosts the learning of participants and increases the likelihood that the paraeducator will be able to demonstrate the skill when asked.
There are 5 guiding principles for providing formative feedback:Performance: Refers to the actions of the individual on tasks that have been previously assigned, taught, and coached. Personal characteristics such as voice, mobility, intelligence, health, etc. should not be the focus of performance feedback. If a para’s voice quality is too soft, for example, rather than focusing on the person’s voice, focus on the students’ reaction. (“Because you have a soft voice, I’ve noticed that students don’t immediately hear you or pay attention when you ask them to come to you. You will need to stand where you are highly visible to students and project your voice, without using a harsh tone, in order to get the student’s attention.” Specificity: Effective feedback is specific, not general. Describe the behavior clearly, without bias or judgment. A statement like “You work so well with the kids” is too general and doesn’t give the Para enough info to work with. “I saw you walk over to a student at his desk and heard you ask him if he had found his math assignment yet. By keeping track of what the student needed, you helped him focus on what he needed to do first and not waste time” tells what the para did correctly and reflects on the para’s behaviors, rather than their attitudes or beliefs.Honesty: Be straightforward, but tactful. Don’t criticize or reflect on the para’s character.Frequency: Daily amounts of 5 minutes of feedback is best.Consistency: Refers to the feedback info the para receives from various professionals. Feedback must be connected to the tasks assigned in the para’s job description. No matter how skillful one is, many times feedback is received as negative and a common defense is that the paraeducator was never trained or assigned for a particular responsibility.
(Read 1st checkmark first).Teachers cannot be expected to perform responsibilities or acquire the skills to perform tasks that are not assigned to them. Once this is established, then administrators must include supervision of paraeducator(s) in the teacher’s evaluation. (Read 2nd checkmark first). Guidance, suggestions, direction and advice are appropriate for teachers who are new to applying supervisory skills. Building administrators have taken coursework/ training on supervision and supervise teachers so they would be natural coaches and mentors for teachers assuming these new roles. (Read 3rd checkmark first). Teachers should be responsible for formative feedback; adminstrators for summative evaluations based on teacher’s input from feedback observations.
Read the “Coaching” slide first.The Administrator’s role as a coach to teachers: The administrator as coach is all about helping teachers improve their performance. Administrators can support teachers who mentor their paraeducators through 6 steps:Explore the components of observation and providing feedback. Encourage teacher reflection. Visit the classroom. Share feedback, evidence of success, and suggestions for growth. Repeat the process throughout the school year.
Joyce & Showers (1980) studied the relationship between the impact of training efforts and various components. When Paraeducators were presented only with “theory” or “demonstration/ modeling,” only 10% of Paraeducators could apply the concept or skill on the job. 15% of Paraeducators could apply concept or skill when given the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on skill performance. If on-the-job coaching is added, however, about 90% of paraeducators will understand the concept and will be able to demonstrate the skill, attitude, or disposition when asked and will be able to apply the concept or skill on the job. Coaching is the most powerful of all the training components in terms of skill application (French, 2003).Without coaching, we have little assurance that training efforts will pay off in terms of student achievement or improved performance of paraeducators.
Audio:Paraeducators are frequently responsible for collecting data for teachers and therapists. Collecting accurate data is critical for progress monitoring and ensuring that professional staff can make informed instructional decisions. In addition, paraeducators often record observations about the children they work with on a daily basis. Since paraeducators may spend a much greater time with some students than the professional staff, these observations can be an important source of information for the student’s IEP team.
This concludes Session III, On-the-Job Training with Your Paraeducator, Prerecorded Session. We look forward to seeing you at the Session III Live Centra Session. Please refer to your course pacing guide for date & time of live session. Thank you.
1. PDE 2954<br />Session III: On-the-Job Training with Your Paraeducator<br />Prerecorded Session<br />
2. Learner Outcomes for Session III:<br />PDE<br /> 2954<br /> Discuss observation & modeling as a training tool<br /> Know how to provide positive & effective feedback to your paraeducator<br /> Examine data collection methods & recording objective observations you and your paraeducator can utilize<br />
3. Does your Para “help” or “hover”?<br />PDE 2954<br />
4. You Should be Your Paraeducator’s Mentor*<br />PDE<br /> 2594<br /> Dr. Kent Gerlach lists 17 ways a teacher can mentor his or her paraeducators.<br /><ul><li> The teachers who mentor their paraeducators share invaluable knowledge and skills.</li></li></ul><li>Some ways to mentor…<br />PDE 2594<br />Set expectations for your <br />paraeducator’s performance.<br />Offer challenging ideas.<br />Help build self-confidence.<br />Encourage ethical and professional behavior.<br />Offer support.<br />
6. Modeling for Your Paraeducator*<br />PDE 2954<br />*Gerlach, K., 2006,<br /> Pacific Training Associates,<br />Seattle, Washington<br /> Model a caring and respectful manner when interacting with students.<br /><ul><li> Model a behavior that is trustworthy, cooperative, and active in school-wide activities.
7. Model respect, patience, and persistence in carrying out educational benchmarks.</li></li></ul><li>PDE<br /> 2954<br />Monitoring Paraeducator Performance through Observation<br />
8. PDE 2954<br />Monitoring Paraeducator Performance<br />Observing Paraeducator task performance & behavior is essential <br /> Teacher’s role is to occasionally step outside instructional function<br /> Administrator’s role: Two requirements to support teachers<br />
9. ObservationTechniques<br />PDE 2954<br />Two Types:<br /> Unfocused & Focused<br /><ul><li>Unfocused observations are not preplanned and the observer has no particular skill or behavior in mind
10. Unfocused observations is like a wide lens on a video camera: It picks up many different occurring simultaneous events and takes in all it sees.</li></li></ul><li>Observation Techniques<br />PDE 2954<br /> Focused Observations involves preplanning and identifies what the focus will be. <br /><ul><li> Observations can be recorded in the form of checklists, scripting or selective verbatim
11. Checklists simply identify the presence or absence of a particular behavior
12. Scripting is useful when trying to capture the interactions between paraeducator and students</li></li></ul><li>PDE 2954<br />Providing Positive & Effective Feedback<br />9 Expectations Paraeducators expect from their Supervisors!<br />
13. PDE<br /> 2954<br />What can you add to these expectations?<br />Brain Break!<br />
14. PDE 2954<br />What is Formative Feedback? <br />Think of formative feedback as en route checkpoints, done frequently. Formative feedback should be ongoing and helpful.<br /> Feedback occurs when the teacher provides information to the paraeducator about how well he or she performs a certain skill or strategy and understands the concept.<br />The best feedback is descriptive rather than evaluative. When giving feedback, be as specific, as constructive, and as supportive as possible.<br />
16. The Role of the Administrator in Providing Feedback<br />PDE 2954<br />Legitimize the teacher’s role as leader & supervisor of paraeducators<br /> Mentor and support the teacher in performing these supervisory responsibilities<br /> Clearly delineate teacher vs administrator roles pertaining to paraeducator supervision<br />
17. Coaching<br />The Administrator’s role as a coach to teachers:<br /> The administrator as coach is all about helping teachers improve their performance. Administrators can support teachers who mentor their paraeducators in several ways…<br />PDE 2954<br /> Involves watching the paraeducator perform the skill or apply the concept on the job, and providing feedback so that the paraeducator can refine his or her use of the skill or application of the concept.<br />
18. Coaching is Essentialto Improvement<br />PDE<br /> 2954<br />Be a coach, not a critic, to your paraeducators.<br />Recognize the strengths of the paraeducators you work with, qnd whenever possible, focus on building and expanding those strengths rather then pointing out weaknesses.<br />Takes supervisory skill & time<br /> Ensures that the skill, attitude, or disposition will be applied in the classroom<br />
19. Data Collection & Objective Observations<br />PDE 2954<br /> Why should your Paraeducator collect data?<br />Showing our paraeducators how to provide & record instructional prompts used with students is a method of collecting authentic data. Recording these objective observations provides valuable information for the TOR (“teacher-of-record”).<br />See sample data collection handouts in the PDE 2954 Session III icon.<br />
20. PDE 2954<br />References & Acknowledgements<br /><ul><li>Gerlach, K. (2006). Let’s Team Up! A Checklist for Paraeducators, Teachers and Principals (4th Ed.). National Education Association of the United States.
21. Gerlach, K. (2006). The Paraeducator and Teacher Team: Strategies for Success (10th Ed.). Seattle, WA: Pacific Training Associates.
22. Mooney, T. & Brinkerhoff, R. (2008). Courageous Training; Bold Actions for Business Results. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.</li>