Welcome to Session 3, “On-the-Job Training with Your Paraeducator”. Hopefully, you have viewed Recorded Session 3a. Please give me a green check mark if you were able to do that and a red X if you were not. If you were not able to view this yet, please make sure you view the session as soon as possible.Remember when you watch a recorded session you must click “PLAYBACK” not “DOWNLOAD”. If you click on “DOWLOAD” Centra will not be able to log the time you spend in sessions. Debra and Amy will be available at the end of the session this afternoon to answer any questions about the course that you may have.
Before we get started on mentoring your Pareducator, we’d like to ask the class a question. Were you able to meet with your paraeducator at least once this week to discuss students and/or classroom issues? Please give us a green checkmark for yes or a red x for no.Those of you with green check marks, what did you discuss with your para? If we could please have 2 volunteers? Did you provide any feedback regarding their job performance? How do you feel the meeting went? Did the para seem comfortable sharing concerns and ideas?For those of you who didn’t get a chance to meet with your para, we hope that this session will give you some ideas and methods for collaborating and guiding discussions when you do meet with your para. One of your assignments this week will require you to meet with your para and have him or her complete a “needs assessment” We’ll talk more about this assignment later in the session this afternoon.
According to French (2001) and other researchers, on-the-job training is the primary form of professional development for Paraeducators. Both teachers and paras who participated in French’s survey stated the quality of such training depends on the willingness, flexibility and availability of the teacher. In fact, Paraeducators who had more opportunities to meet with their classroom teacher were more comfortable in their classroom roles. Having regularly scheduled meetings with your Paraeducator can provide an opportunity for the teacher to a) review the classroom roles & expectations of the paraeducator and b) train paraeducators on specific activities, and review data-based evaluations. Additionally, these meetings can be used to debrief about issues that might arise specific to individual children within the classroom.
During the recorded Session 3a we discussed several ways the teacher can mentor their paraeducator.We discussed Setting expectations of the paraeducators performance, offering challenging ideas, helping to build self-confidence, encouraging ethical and professional behavior, and offering support. Let’s discuss some other ways you can support the paraeducator or paraeducators you work with.
In his book, “The Paraeducator and Teacher Team: Strategies for Success”, Dr. Kent Gerlach discusses 17 ways teachers can mentor their paraeducator. The first 5 suggestions were discussed in the recorded Session 3a. These are: setting performance for your paraeducator’s performance, offering challenging ideas, helping to build self-confidence, encouraging ethical and professional behavior, and offering support.We will now look at the other ways Kent Gerlach recommends we mentor the paraeducators we work with…
We can mentor by actively listening to the paraeducator. Really listen to what your para is telling you. Are they having a difficult time because they’re really not clear with what you’re direction them to do? Is it a lack of skills, knowledge, or experience? Use good active listening techniques like, “I think what you’re saying is….” and paraphrase their response.Next, teach by example. Don’t observe or provide feedback on anything until you’ve modeled it several times, especially if you are modeling behavioral strategies (such as precision commands or corrective feedback to students.)
Provide growth experience. Inexperiencedparas won’t become experienced paras if they’re not given an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and try new things. Depending on your para’s age, experience, and confidence level, trying new things out may be quite challenging. So take it slowly when introducing new techniques or strategies with them.Next, make sure you ask questions and give explanations. We as teacher need to ensure that our paraeducators understand exactly what it is we want them to do. Many Paras feel too intimidated to take the lead and ask you, so make it a habit to ask them questions and give explanations for any new activities/strategies or techniques you have them do with kids that they’ve never done before.
Coach the paraeducator. As we discussed in the recorded session, coaching involves watching the paraeducator perform the skill or apply the concept on the job and provide feedback so that the para can refine his or her use of the skill or application of the concept. If we don’t consistently utilize coaching techniques, the new strategies we teach our paras will most likely not be retained. Next, encourage the paraeducator. We all need encouragement, especially when trying out something new. We need to reinforce our para’s efforts so they will continue to try and improve their skill set.
Inspire the paraeducator. This may sound a little grandiose… but think about it for a second. One definition of leadership is to inspire one’s follower to make a change in the direction we wish them to go. As teachers, we serve as the leadership model for our paraeducator in the classroom. If we keep this idea in mind when we’re modeling, coaching, and providing feedback, we will become a stronger team.Also, share critical knowledge. It is essential that we share important information with our paraeducators regarding students with disabilities. We need to make them aware of the students’ they work with, what the student’s strengths are, their areas of need, accommodations and modifications, and strategies that are needed to support the student during various activities and in various settings. If we don’t share this information openly, then a common defense for the paraeducator will be, “but you never told me about this child’s….blank”….
Assist, observe, and demonstrate. Be hands on with your para. Especially if they are new to your program and/or students.Next, direct and delegate effectively. Delegating appropriate tasks will only work when the para is able and willing to accept this type of responsibility. Before delegating anything, make sure you have assisted, observed, and demonstrated the task many times and that you know the para is comfortable doing this on his or her own. Certain tasks, however, such as teaching a concept that has never been introduced to the students before OR implementing a new behavior plan should never be delegated to a para as their sole responsibility.Give clear, concise directions… on new tasks, give clear, concise directions. Have the para paraphrase what you have said to ensure they understand what it is you need them to do. Provide clarification for anything they don’t seem to understand.Finally… counsel when necessary – provide feedback and counsel as soon as possible when a para needs validation of conducting an activity correctly or provide corrective feedback when the activity components were not carried out correctly. Remember the 5 guiding principles of providing feedback from the recorded session! Base performance on assigned tasks, not personal characteristics, be specific, not general in your observations, be honest (but tactful), provide short amounts of feedback, and be consistent.
During the recorded session, wetalked about why observing your paraeducator is so important, and how you cannot provide effective feedback unless you do occasionally step outside your instructional role and observe your para’s task performance. Let’s do a brief review of the fundamentals of observation:
Take a few minutes several times a week to formally observe your para working with a student or a group of students. If you are observing your para informally, and just want a snapshot of how they are doing globally with many events occuring, then you are conducting an unfocused observation. If you have preplanned the observation and have identified what you are specifically observing when your para is working with a group of student or student, then you are conducting a focused observation. Focused observations can be recorded in the form of checklists, scripting, or selective verbatim. Checklists are quicker and merely detect the presence or absence of a particular behavior. Scripting or selective verbatim is useful when you’re trying to capture specific interactions between the paraeducator and the students.Once you have observed the para 1-3 times in a week’s period, you will want to provide feedback to your para in a non-judgemental, non-threatening manner. We’ll talk about some feedback forms you can use later in this session or you can always develop your own. The most important thing to remember is that after you observe your para you must provide feedback; that’s the whole purpose of observing them! Tell them this is not part of a formal evaluation; it is simply to assist them in doing their job better.REMEMBER… observation is a strategy for support, NOT FOR EVALUATION. Pay attention to your para’s concerns, model being an effective listener, and ask questions.
During the recorded session, we discussed what “formative feedback” is and why it is important for us as teacher to do this. Feedback occurs when the teacher provides information to the paraeducator about how well that he or she performs as skill or strategy and understands a concept.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 info 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.
Please use the text tool in the Centra tool bar and record an opportunity in which you have been able to (or think you could) provide formative feedback to your paraeducator.
One of the most important duties of a paraeducator is to monitor student progress and report findings to their supervising teacher. In the Session 3 in Moodle, you will find sample feedback forms from Kent Gerlach.
Here is a sample feedback form you can use if you like when observing your paraeducator. This form can serve as a model for you in developing your own forms that are specific to your classroom program and specific duties the paraeducator performs. This form is a good model to use for formal observations when you observe your para leading an instructional activity. Make sure you model for the para how you want the instructional activity conducted so they know what is expected of them before the observation.
This is another example of a formal feedback checklist you may use. Notice that this form is more focused on the activity or lesson and how closely the para is relating the objective or benchmark to the student’s IEP. Please don’t use this form until your paraeducator has viewed the students’ IEP goals, benchmarks, and specially designed instruction. Remember you may use the “IEP Quick Reference” form we showed in session 2 to assist you in sharing IEPs with paraeducators. We recommend the use of this observation form with a more experienced paraedcuator.You will not be required to utilize these forms for this class, but if you are comforatable, you may want to try observing your paraeducator this week using on of the forms. They may be accessed in the Moodle course in session 3 handouts.
Let’s think a little bit about data collection… When have you had your paraeducator take data on student performance? OR when could you start involving your paraeducator in data collection?Use the text tool in the Centra Tool Bar and type a time when you have had (or could have) your para take data…
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.
One of the most important duties of a paraeducator is to monitor student progress and report findings to their supervising teacher. On the next few slides, we’re going to discuss some tools you can use that will assist you with training your paraeducator. As special educators, most of you are probably familiar with instructional prompting and keeping accurate, measureable data, be we’ll review these strategies because paras should be utilizing prompting strategies and reporting student progress to you.
A paraeducator can be indispensable in observing and monitoring challenging behaviors, if they are provided with the correct tools, such as instructional prompting. When you have your paraeducator collecting data on a student’s behavior, make sure the paraeducatorutilizies the “ABC” perspective of behavior. Collecting baseline data of a challenging Behavior (Behavior=B), what seems to precipitate it (Antecedents=A), and what the student may be seeking (Consequences=C) by engaging in these challenging behaviors.
One of the most common types of behavior you may have your paraeducator monitor is “off-task” and “on-task” behavior. “Off task” behavior is defined as a behavior which limits engaged academic learning and frequently disrupts the teaching & learning process. As a special educator, you may already have observation forms you and your paraeducator utilized to monitor off- and on-task behavior. If you don’t, there are some sample observation forms in Session 3 of Moodle that you can download and use.
Ifyour Para is new to the job or does not have a set method of recording data, you can give him or her this type of data sheet. First, get a large, three-ring binder and make copies of the “blank” daily notations sheet. Three-hole punch them and place in binder. Your Paraeducator can utilize these sheets along with the instructional prompting tools to record the student or students daily routines and how much prompting was needed. This notebook can also be used as a communication tool between the two of you to show a student’s incremental progress. These data sheets can be utilized for daily, weekly, or monthly student progress reports. How many of you currently have your para record some type of data for you? Give us a green check or red x.
As special educators, you probably already have your own data sheets modified for specific types of data collection, so we will just peruse quickly through the following samples of different types of data collection sheets. Other samples will be found in the Session 3 handouts section in Moodle.Here is a sample data sheet for measuring off-task & on-task behavior(s). If you are having your paraeducator monitor these types of behaviors, you should be clear about the difference between “on-task”, “off-task-verbal”, and “off-task-passive” behaviors are. Again, these are just samples. A great resource for you to purchase is a book by Lynn Lavelle titled, “Practical Charts for Managing Behavior”. This valuable resource has a variety of reproducible data sheets you and your paraeducators can use for monitoring behaivor and/or academics.In order to use this form, first define “ON-TASK” behavior to your para as what the student is doing, or what he/she was assigned to do, such as seat work, paying attention to a lesson, participating in class discussion, or participating in a group project. On the other hand, off task behavior can be divided into three broad categories and you may want to include the descriptions as a “key” in the observation form.Off-task motor (OTM): Instead of working on assigned task, the student is out of seat, constant and noticeable fidgeting, playing with objects (such as a pencil, toys, etc.) and/or other children, making inappropriate gestures, acting silly, hitting, biting, or throwing things, fighting with others, etc. Off-task verbal (OTV): Instead of working on assigned task, the student is calling out, talking to someone when prohibited, making noises, etc. Off-task passive (OTP): Instead of working on assigned task, the student is looking around, daydreaming, looking out window, coming to class late, delaying starting assigned task, etc.
Paraeducators perform a wide range of classroom duties that decades ago were only relegated to the special education teacher. Paraeducators today are expected to assist in individual and small group instruction, material modification, behavior management, monitoring student progress, supporting teachers, collecting student data, and providing personal care (toileting, dressing, feeding, etc.) Although paraeducators have assumed an expansion of roles and responsibilities, research indicates that most lack the training to carry out basic instruction and behavioral duties in the classroom. The result of insufficient training provided to paraeducators is that the students with the most complex needs (students with disabilities) are being served by the members of the school community with the least preparation. To complicate things further, we as teachers are not typically trained to supervise our paraeducators. Very often staff development opportunities offered to paraeducators are not targeted to their specific needs. A needs assessment might be used to identify such training needs and specific on-the-job training could be the most valuable, immediate way to ensure that paraeducators know what they need to in order to best serve teachers.In Session 3 of Moodle, you will be asked to download and print out 2 copies of the “Paraeducator Needs Assignment.” Read the directions and fill out the needs assessment to determine what are the areas that your para may require additional training. If you feel the para is exemplary in a particular area, you would circle “0” or “no need” for training in that area. If you feel the para has some skills in an area, but requires some additional training, you would circle “3” or “some need.” If you feel the para has none or very limited skills in an area, you would circle “5” or “great need.” Have your para also complete the needs assessment on the extra copy, including the 3-question “self-reflection” at the end of the needs assessment. Be prepared to discuss your findings at our next Centrasession.
After you have observed your paraeducator perform tasks critical to their job performance and conduct a needs assessment, provide feedback to the paraeducator (as an ongoing progress), but also use your data to evaluate the team relationship you and your paraeducator have. Discuss the CCF evaluation criteria that will be used to assess the paraeducators’ performance. Let them know how often and when they will formally evaluated using the CCF 70 – Support Staff Performance Evaluation Report. Provide an opportunity for paraeducators to offer feedback on your working relationship. When giving feedback, start with telling them what they did well, and then follow with constructive suggestions for improvement. Probationary Paraeducators are formally evaluated at least 2 times in the first six months of employment, and post-probationary paras are formally evaluated at least annually for the first 10 years with district. If they are not demoted and receive all satisfactory marks, they can be formally evaluated biannually after 10 years. For more information on the formal evaluation process of support staff, refer to CCSD’s “Guide to Supervision” manual by the Human Resources Division.
Rubrics are very helpful in determining the profeciency level of your paraeducator. Amy Wills, a previous project facilitator at the SSSD Professional Development Department, developed a rubric in collaboration with Dr. Marily Friend that you may find helpful when discerning your paraeducator’s skill level. This rubric may be found in Session 3 of Moodle. Let’s take a look at it for a few minutes. The rubric contains five categories: 1) Philosophy, 2) Personal Characteristics, 3) Collaboration, 4) Classroom Practices, and 5) Context. The rubric ratings for each category are “exemplary practices,” “average practices,” and “problematic practices”. This rubric was developed in the process of writing this course because we found the official CCF -70 Support Staff Performance Evaluation Report to be fairly generic, and felt it didn’t reflect the skills of the paraeducator working with students with disabilities. You are not required to use this form for this class, but we recommend you include a copy of this form in your personal Paraeducator Orientation Notebook.
Using the star tool in your Centra tool bar, please mark where you feel you are on this table for each of the 4 “steps” in supervising a paraeducator.
We have spent a lot of time discussing providing effective feedback to the paraeducator during this session. For your Session 3 Paraeducator Orientation Notebook component, you will be developing a feedback form OR modifying a sample we’ve shared with you to fit your program and your paraeducator. Spend some time thinking about areas in which you would like to provide feedback to your paraeducator before developing your form. This form will assist you in communicating area or areas of need to your paraeducator.
This concludes Session III. Please go to the Session III folder in the PDE 2954 icon and complete the assignments posted.
Session 3 Powerpoint
PDE 2954<br />Session III: On-the-Job Training with Your Paraeducator<br />Live Session<br />
Learner Outcomes for Session III:<br />PDE<br /> 2954<br />Review observation, modeling, & providing effective feedback<br /> Review data collection methods & recording objective observations<br /> Discuss the use of instructional & behavioral prompting<br />Complete a needs assessment with your Paraeducator & discuss the results during a Centra Session<br /> Assess your Paraeducator with the “Paraeducator Quality Rubric”<br />
Making Time?<br /><ul><li> Did you meet with your paraeducator at least once this week?</li></li></ul><li>On-the-Job Training<br />French (2001)<br />
PDE<br /> 2954<br />How can you mentor your paraeducator?<br />
17 Ways to Mentor Our Paraeducator<br />Offer challenging ideas.<br />Set expectations for the paraeducator’s performance.<br />Help build self-confidence.<br />Encourage ethical and professional behavior.<br />Offer support.<br />
Mentoring Paraeducators<br />Actively listen.<br />Teach by example.<br />
Mentoring Paraeducators<br />Provide growth experience. <br />Ask questions and give explanations.<br />
Mentoring Paraeducators<br />Coach the paraeducator.<br />Encourage the paraeducator.<br />
Mentoring Paraeducators<br />Inspire the paraeducator.<br />Share critical knowledge.<br />
Mentoring Paraeducators<br />Assist, observe, and demonstrate.<br />Direct and delegate effectively.<br />Give clear, concise directions.<br />Counsel when necessary.<br />
PDE<br /> 2954<br />Monitoring Paraeducator Performance through Observation<br />
PDE 2954<br />What is Formative Feedback? <br />Think of formative feedback as en route checkpoints, done frequently. Formative feedback should ongoing and helpful.<br /> Feedback occurs when the teacher provides information to the paraeducator about how well the 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 />
When can you provide formative feedback?<br />
Tools to Help You Help Your Paraeducator<br />PDE 2954<br />Feedback forms found in Session 3 in Moodle<br />
Supervisor Checklist<br />Gerlach, K. 2007, Pacific Training Associates, Seattle, WA; used with permission.<br />
Feedback Form Checklist<br />Gerlach, K. 2007, Pacific Training Associates, Seattle, WA; used with permission.<br />
Data Collection?<br />When did I include my para in data collection?<br />When could I include my para in data collection?<br />
Data Collection & Objective Observations<br />PDE 2954<br /> Why should your Paraeducator collect data?<br />Showing our paraeducators how to provide instructional prompts to 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 Session 3 of Moodle.<br />
PDE 2954<br />More Tools to Help You Help Your Paraeducator<br />Instructional Prompting<br />Daily Notations<br />Needs Assessment<br />Paraeducator Quality Rubric<br />
PDE 2954<br />Instructional Prompts<br />We all respond to cues <br /> Cues are prompts that help us remember when or how to do certain things<br /> Cues move from least (“natural”) to most intrusive (“full physical” cue)<br />M.B. Doyle, “The Paraprofessional’s Guide to the Inclusive Classroom—Working as a Team,” 2nd Edition, Brookes Publishing, 2002, pp. 53-57<br />
Instructional Prompting<br />PDE<br /> 2954<br /> When learning a new skill, some students need a prompt added to the naturally occurring cue in order to help them initiate a response when participating in an activity or routine.<br />
Types of Data to Collect<br />PDE 2954<br />Prompts range from “Least” (Natural) to “Most” (Full Physical) Prompts<br />
PDE 2954<br />A= Antecedent<br />B= Behavior<br />C= Consequence(s)<br />Teachers provide guidance about specific behavior management strategies & student characteristics<br />Paraeducators monitor student progress & give feedback to teachers.<br />
Blank Daily Notations Sheet for recording data on a single student or a group of students.<br />Sample Daily Notations sheet to share with your paraeducator on how to record data on students. Notice that all the different prompts used are abbreviated. This helps the teacher see how intrusive the paraeducator had to be by delineating the type of prompts given.<br />
Why Keep Track of the Types of Prompting Cues You Use with Students?<br />PDE 2954<br />Knowing the type and frequency of prompt(s) used can signal to the teacher a student’s level of understanding of concepts or skills being taught<br />If data is collected 2-3 times a week per student, this gives the teacher a more accurate picture of student progress towards IEP goals and benchmarks<br />
Sample form for monitoring on-task and off-task behavior<br />PDE 2954<br />
Conducting a Needs Assessment<br />PDE 2954<br />Why do a needs assessment with your Paraeducator ?<br />Paraeducator Needs Assessment Areas:<br />Delivery of Instruction<br />Activity Preparation/ Follow-up<br />Supervision of Group of Students<br />Behavior management<br />Ethics<br />Team Participation/Membership<br />Clerical<br />Specific Topics/Other<br />
Any Questions?<br />PDE 2954<br />“The teacher is the instructional leader. Ethical and professional guidelines must be followed. Teachers who supervise paraeducators are responsible for establishing a personalized job description that includes the tasks the paraeducator will perform, where they will occur, individual student needs, materials required, and instructional strategies to be used…Teachers need to emphasize the importance of working together as a team. A paraeducator’s job is not done in isolation. A paraeducator assists and supports teacher-directed instruction.”<br />Heller & Gerlach, 2003<br />