Paraeducator Training: Making the Decisions and Finding the Materials That Meet Your District's Needs

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Presentation from the 2006 National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Conference
http://www.nrcpara.org/

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Paraeducator Training: Making the Decisions and Finding the Materials That Meet Your District's Needs

  1. 1. Making Decisions and Finding Materials to Meet District Needs Nancy K. French, Ph.D. Executive Director, The PAR 2 A Center 1380 Lawrence St. Suite 650 Denver, CO 80204 303-556-6464 [email_address] www.paracenter.org Ritu V. Chopra, Ph.D. Director, The PAR2A Center 1380 Lawrence St. Suite 650 Denver, CO 80204 303-556-6464 [email_address] www.paracenter.org
  2. 2. Training Issues to Consider <ul><li>Why train? </li></ul><ul><li>When to train? </li></ul><ul><li>How to schedule training? </li></ul><ul><li>Who trains? </li></ul><ul><li>What topics to include? </li></ul><ul><li>What curriculum to use? </li></ul><ul><li>How to pay for it? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Train? <ul><li>The typical situation: </li></ul><ul><li>No preparation </li></ul><ul><li>No orientation </li></ul>“ They were desperate for someone at the time, so I had an interview. I received an explanation of the philosophy, [but then] it was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of deal.” “ I was just told to go in there – that he’s in there and he can’t read or write. I should just work with him and get him to be a part of the class as much as possible.” “ I had never done this kind of work before. So I came in the first day, was handed a schedule, and was told to go to the first class. That basically was my training. It was trial by fire”
  4. 4. When? …Options for Districts <ul><li>(a) Train Teachers and Paraeducators Together </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to do team building </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone hears the same message / same content in same way </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sets them up for consistency in the classroom </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No one complains that the other doesn’t know the content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not sustainable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No one wants to repeat same training when there is turnover </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult getting both team members released at the same time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students’ schedules are disrupted when both teacher and paraeducator are out of building </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. When? …Options for Districts <ul><li>(b) Train Teachers and Paraeducators Separately </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility in scheduling sessions – one covers the students while other is out </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can address same content regarding roles, but from unique perspectives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers may be used as trainers for paraeducators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training can be designed to address the legitimate role </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No one has to sit through multiple iterations of the training session </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Paraeducators and teachers may hear / believe different messages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One job-alike group complains about the other (leading to dissension in the team) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Their lack of knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Their poor practice </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Who Trains? …Options for Districts <ul><li>(a) Hire outside trainers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They bring expertise </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They do the work of creating the materials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They do the work of presenting, providing handouts etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You have to bring them back if someone needs the training at a subsequent date </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Internal capacity to train remains unchanged </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expenses include travel and time </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Who Trains… Options for Districts <ul><li>(b) Prepare in-district master teachers to train </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Master teachers are honored to share their expertise </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Paraeducators respect knowledge and expertise of master teachers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trained trainers stay in the profession longer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-district trainers have greater credibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-house potential trainers may not know what content to use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Initial investment in preparing trainers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-district trainers must be nurtured with opportunities to meet and explore their role </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-district trainers either have to create their own training materials or obtain prepared materials </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The Content or… What Topics to Include <ul><li>Specific disabilities (e.g. Autism) </li></ul><ul><li>Following instructional plans / instructional techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior management </li></ul><ul><li>Supervision of large groups </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating with children </li></ul><ul><li>Child development </li></ul><ul><li>Learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Assistive technology </li></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal skills with adults </li></ul><ul><li>Special education process and laws </li></ul><ul><li>Specific information about targeted students </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Curriculum… Options for Districts <ul><li>(a) Create your own training materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It’s specific to the words used in your district and state </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Its organized according to your state standards or competencies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People who create materials feel ‘ownership’ of those materials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can be altered </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Huge cost </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Field-testing data not available – difficult to conduct internally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content is often not consistently reflective of research-based instructional methods </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authors create materials in their own style – making it difficult for others to use materials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Revisions ‘step on toes’ of those who created them </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Curriculum… Options for Districts <ul><li>(b) Purchase training materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Curriculum materials are produced and ready to use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Immediacy – you can get them right away </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You can find products that have proof of quality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It’s difficult to determine which materials are high quality and which are not </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Someone has to match the content of a commercial program to your requirements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cost – you pay for work someone else has done </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May not precisely match state or local terms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May be difficult to alter prepared materials </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. How were the CO-TOP courses developed? <ul><li>1994 –1997 reviewed literature, developed, piloted-tested 7 courses </li></ul><ul><li>Examined data </li></ul><ul><li>1997-98 - Rewrote and revised every course - pilot tested </li></ul><ul><li>1997-1999 Developed, pilot tested 3 more courses </li></ul><ul><li>1999 – 2000 Developed, piloted 3 courses on ESL </li></ul><ul><li>2002 – 2006 Developed 3 literacy / 3 math courses - expert focus groups </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot tested, revised… </li></ul><ul><li>Next: Course on Autism </li></ul>
  12. 12. NOW …. <ul><li>More than 10,000 individual paraeducators have taken courses </li></ul><ul><li>For each class, paraeducators complete: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A course & instructor evaluation form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A pre and post skills assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The results? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Course Evaluations <ul><li>650 classes taught by ‘home-grown’ trainers </li></ul><ul><li>10,379 paraeducators submitted course evaluations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall course rating - 90.58% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Course format </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Course length </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content accuracy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Vocabulary & Comprehension Pre-Post Assessments * t -test significant at p < .01 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Assisting with Vocabulary and Comprehension training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -20.39* 1.50 M = 4.28 SD = .60 M = 2.78 SD = .80 134 Spring 04 - Fall 04 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  15. 16. Phonemic Awareness & Phonics Pre-Post Assessments * t -test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Assisting with Vocabulary and Comprehension training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -24.98* 1.97 M = 4.19 SD = .60 M = 2.23 SD =1.05 151 Spring 05 - Spring 06 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  16. 17. Fluency Academy Pre-Post Assessments * t -test significant at p < .01 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Fluency Academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -11.78* 1.57 M = 4.33 SD = .60 M = 2.76 SD =.84 38 Spring 05 - Fall 05 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  17. 18. K-4 Math Pre-Post Assessments * t -test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Assisting with Vocabulary and Comprehension training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -14.53* 1.19 M = 4.06 SD = .76 M = 2.88 SD = .87 93 Fall 04 – Spring 06 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  18. 19. Number Theory Pre-Post Assessments * t -test significant at p < .01 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Assisting with Vocabulary and Comprehension training academy significantly increased their perceived skill through training. -7.35* 1.29 M = 3.95 SD = .70 M = 2.66 SD = .98 23 Spring 05- Fall 05 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  19. 20. Algebraic Concepts Pre-Post Assessments * t -test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Assisting with Vocabulary and Comprehension training academy significantly increased their perceived skill through training. -10.22* 1.71 M = 4.20 SD = .63 M = 2.49 SD = .81 14 Fall 05 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  20. 21. Behavior Management Pre-Post Assessments *t-test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Behavior Management training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -60.56* 1.35 M = 4.43 SD = .49 M = 3.08 SD = .73 1007 Spring 02 – Spring 06 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation # Participants Dates
  21. 22. Instructional Methods – 2 nd Language Learners Pre-Post Assessments <ul><li>t -test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test </li></ul><ul><li>Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Instructional Delivery Methods for Second Language Learners Academy significantly increased their perceived skill. </li></ul>-42.08* 1.91 M = 4.33 SD = .60 M = 2.42 SD = .93 387 Fall 01 - Fall 04 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Number of Participants Dates
  22. 23. Instructional Technology Pre-Post Assessments <ul><li>t -test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test </li></ul><ul><li>Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Instructional Delivery Methods for Second Language Learners Academy significantly increased their perceived skill. </li></ul>-32.57* 1.40 M = 4.39 SD = .53 M = 2.99 SD = .90 365 Fall 01 – Spring 06 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Number of Participants Dates
  23. 24. Instructional Teamwork Pre-Post Assessments <ul><li>t -test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test </li></ul><ul><li>Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Instructional Teamwork training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. </li></ul>-59.26* 1.20 M = 4.52 SD = .45 M = 3.32 SD = .78 1274 Spring 00 - Fall 04 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Number of Participants Dates
  24. 25. Orientation to Special Education Pre-Post Assessments *t-test significant at p < .01 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Orientation to Special Education training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -63.69* 1.62 M = 4.34 SD = .52 M = 2.72 SD = .80 842 Fall 02 - Fall 04 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Number of Participants Dates
  25. 26. Significant Supports for Challenging Behavior Pre-Post Assessments *t-test significant at p < .001 on a two-tailed test Results of a paired-samples t-test indicated that participants’ in the Orientation to Special Education training academy significantly increased their perceived skill. -50.27* 1.58 M = 4.39 SD = .50 M = 2.82 SD = .79 530 Fall 02 - Spring 06 t -test Mean Difference Post-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Pre-Training Mean and Standard Deviation Number of Participants Dates
  26. 27. Do paraeducators apply CO-TOP skills on the job? <ul><li>Paraeducators: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete a field experience to complete the certificate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write reflections on each class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each reflection focuses on one technique or bit of information they learned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell how they use the knowledge or skill in the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of descriptions of how paraeducators are applying skills on the job in practicum portfolios </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See examples on our website www.paracenter.org </li></ul></ul>
  27. 28. If you do decide to purchase training materials or curriculum…. <ul><li>Before you buy, consider… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need / Relevance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensiveness / Depth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role Legitimacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional Quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability – Does it do what it says it does? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul></ul>
  28. 29. How does the CO-TOP Curriculum Address the Criteria? <ul><li>21 Courses based on need / relevance to paraeducator positions </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Considerate of legitimate roles of paraeducators – teachers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensive – sufficient depth to build skill </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Core content - consistent with various approaches </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High quality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability – it does what it says it will do! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 30. What does it cost? <ul><li>Instructors’ Manuals may be purchased costs for $199 (on CD) </li></ul><ul><li>All 21 courses – package price of $4,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Training of Trainers Package - $12,000 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two training sessions - 2 days each </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CD with all curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assistance with selecting trainers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assistance with setting up your program – scheduling, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assistance with building a collaborative group to share costs </li></ul></ul>
  30. 31. Is CO-TOP right for your district? <ul><li>Decide for yourself, using the criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Review sample materials </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the course evaluation data </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the data on the improvement of skills </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the evidence that they apply skills on the job </li></ul><ul><li>Call Nancy French or Ritu Chopra for specific information about purchasing materials or training of trainers packages </li></ul>

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