Working Effectively with Families: Research based Tips for Paraeducators


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Presentation by Ritu Chopra at the 2011 National Conference for Paraprofessionals.

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  • Ritu
  • Huh? This doesn’t make sense with the previous slide. Word strips? Task and program needs? In my earlier story, I noted that I didn’t have the tools I needed or even a sense of what tools I needed You now have made lists of the tools you know you need Most construction workers have tool boxes and a tool belts. They contain many items needed and used everyday to complete a project. If a worker is an efficient worker the tool box and belt being used is highly organized. There are separate compartments for tools based on categories. The organizational categories are typically personal to the user and are designed for the most efficient access and use. The same is true when looking more closely at the tasks that need to be completed by the Team in their daily work. Now separate your word strips into two lists: Tasks and Program Needs Take a few minutes to see how others in your group have organized their strips
  • Christy -(unit and lesson plans, IEP goals and objectives, addressing standards, Planning, prescribing, managing the instructional environment) based on unit plans, lesson plans, IEPs, remedial literacy plans, 504 plans, other individualized plans)
  • Working Effectively with Families: Research based Tips for Paraeducators

    1. 1. <ul><li>Working Effectively with Families: Research-Based Tips for Paraeducators </li></ul><ul><li>29th National Conference on the Training and Employment of Paraprofessionals </li></ul><ul><li>May 12-May 14, 2011 </li></ul>Ritu Chopra, Ph.D., Executive Director & Assistant Research Professor The PAR 2 A Center, University of Colorado Denver [email_address] w ebsite:
    2. 2. - Kent Gerlach
    3. 3. If your answer is YES, raise your hand? <ul><li>Are you a special education paraeducators? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you serve English Language learners? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you work one-on-one with a student? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you act as an interpreter/translator for the parents? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you live in the same community where your students live? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you interact with the parents of your students more often than the teacher? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you share close relationship/friendship with the parents of your students? </li></ul>
    4. 4. What do we know about pareducator's role in edcuation? <ul><li>Paraeducator perform several roles in inclusion: Instructional Support Personnel, Connector, Behavior Support Facilitator, Team Member , Personal Care Giver </li></ul><ul><li>Many consider paraeducators as the bridge to inclusive education </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators often have more contact with students who have severe disabilities compared to teachers and other service providers. </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Become the primary service provider for students with disabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relieve teachers of their responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumes too much responsibility (e.g. Adapting materials or assignments without direction) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Parents are often viewed as the key factor in the student success. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents of students with disabilities have been the primary driving force behind the passage of major laws pertaining to inclusive education for their children </li></ul><ul><li>“ Exceptional” parents are now recognized as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the best advocates for their children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>initiators of reform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>partners and collaborators with the school in the care, treatment, and education of their children. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Paraeducator live in the same community as their students and their families. </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators often share linguistic and cultural similarities with parents of their students </li></ul><ul><li>Parents demand inclusion and paraeducator support . </li></ul><ul><li>Parents value, respect, & appreciate paraeducators. </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducators communicate with parents more than school professionals do on a daily basis. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents and paraeducators sometimes share close relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Close parent-paraprofessional relationships are not always beneficial for the child’s education. </li></ul><ul><li>Strained parent-paraprofessional relationships are not beneficial either!! </li></ul><ul><li>Parents & students become overly dependent on paraeducators </li></ul><ul><li>Parents and paraeducators may leave the teacher out of the loop . </li></ul>
    7. 7. Tip # 1: Know Your Role Teacher Role: TA Role :
    8. 8. <ul><ul><li>Overall program Planning (overseeing, IEP goals and objectives, addressing standards, lesson planning, prescribing, managing the instructional environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instruction (based on unit plans, lesson plans, IEPs, remedial literacy plans, 504 plans, other individualized plans) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment (Collecting, coordinating, and interpreting information about the student including current levels of functioning, determination of disability, reporting student progress) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborating (consulting with other professional personnel, meeting, coordinating, communication) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paraprofessional/TA Supervision (Planning, scheduling delegating, providing feedback, training/coaching, regular planning meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement instruction in various environments, based on lesson plans provided by the teacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforce learning with individuals or small groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist individual students- personal care, mobility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist with observations/data recording/charting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist with ongoing behavior management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participate in building level duties as assigned by building administrator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Score tests /papers & assist in data collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perform clerical tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepare, produce & maintain instructional materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain and operate instructional equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help develop schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Team participation </li></ul></ul>Teacher/Professional Roles Paraeducator Roles
    9. 9. Role Clarity <ul><li>Teacher has the overall responsibility for the program </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducator works under the supervision of the teacher – know the boundaries of your role </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher needs to be primary contact person fro the parents with regards to questions about child’s behavior, program planning </li></ul><ul><li>Paraeducator should not make independent decisions about what the family or the child needs: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consult with the teacher </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pass on families’ questions and requests to the teacher </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Tip # 2: Build a Strong Paraeducator -Teacher Team <ul><li>Build a “good” working relationship with the teacher first! </li></ul><ul><li>This needs to happen first!! </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize the teacher as the supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss ways to work together effectively </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know characteristics of effective and ineffective communication. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be an effective team member. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know roles – your own as well as those of your supervisor. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perform only those tasks that legally and ethically fall within the scope of your role. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>REMEMBER – you always work under the direction of your supervisor. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advocate for yourself and seek the guidance/direction that you are legally and ethically supposed to receive from your supervisor. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget the ethical and professional behaviors that govern your role. </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Tip #3: Demonstrate Professional & Ethical Work Behaviors <ul><ul><li>Recognize that the supervisor has the ultimate responsibility for instruction and management of the learning environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage only in activities that are delegated to them by the supervisor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow directions of the supervisor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refer concerns about the children, parents, other team members to the supervisor. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate child’s progress or concerns with parents or others only as directed to do so by the supervisor. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain a high level of competence and integrity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect the dignity, privacy, human and legal rights of all children, their families, and staff members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refrain from engaging in discriminatory practices based on children/families disability, race, sex, language, cultural background, and religion. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. TIP #4: Develop Healthy Professional Relationship with Parents <ul><li>Personal vs professional Relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of the thin line between the two </li></ul><ul><li>Know that friendship with parents: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs to be maintained parents outside the school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>may be personally fulfilling for both parties but not always effective for the child’s program </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exercise professionalism and separate your personal feelings from your work. </li></ul><ul><li>Be an advocate for families but don’t step on other peoples’ toes. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep teacher in the loop!! </li></ul>
    13. 13. TIP# 5: Foster independence among students & families <ul><li>When students become dependent on you – their families too! </li></ul><ul><li>With students: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use “wait time” to allow the student to follow teacher directions independently before stepping into assist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give students opportunities to practice on their own </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give support only when needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do things with instead of for the individual. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let students choose between acceptable options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Moves on” to assist other students needing help once the support is given. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help students learn self-confidence, self-reliance and achieve as much autonomy as possible </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>You will have community contact outside school with the parents – they may ask you questions </li></ul><ul><li>You may run in to situations where people outside of the program (neighbors and other community members) intentionally or unintentionally seek confidential information about a families and infants/toddlers they work with. </li></ul>TIP # 6: Follow Privacy & Confidentiality Polices
    15. 15. <ul><li>Families expect, and are guaranteed by the state and federal law, that the information will be kept confidential and made available only to personnel authorized to view or discuss it </li></ul><ul><li>Any requests regarding children or families should be referred to the supervisor. </li></ul><ul><li>Rehearse responses to such requests </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>Possible Request: I heard you’re working with Johnny... Is that family as demanding as everyone says? </li></ul>Possible Response: I’m a paraprofessional with the school ; I can’t talk about children and families that way. or “ Paraprofessional aren’t allowed to discuss children and their families with others, sorry.”
    17. 17. Paraeducator Role : Connector vs Barrier <ul><li>These 6 tips help you to be a connecter by the families and school!! </li></ul><ul><li>Tip # 1: Know Your Role </li></ul><ul><li>Tip # 2: Build a Strong Paraeducator -Teacher Team </li></ul><ul><li>Tip #3: Demonstrate Professional & Ethical Work Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>TIP #4: Develop Healthy Professional Relationship with Parents </li></ul><ul><li>TIP# 5: Foster independence among students & families </li></ul><ul><li>TIP # 6: Follow Privacy & Confidentiality Polices </li></ul>
    18. 18. Let’s Complete Paraeducator Inventory!! <ul><li>Individually complete the paraeducator Inventory handout. </li></ul><ul><li>In pairs, discuss your responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Share with the large group. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Any questions/comments?
    20. 20. <ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><li>Ritu Chopra, PhD - [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>or 303-315-6361 </li></ul><ul><li>Visit: </li></ul><ul><li>Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center website: </li></ul>