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The Roles of Paraeducators in Inclusive Classrooms: A Three-Part Series

Provided by Frances Stetson, Ph.D.,Stetson and Associates, Inc., 
Houston, Texas.

In the last two decades, the roles and responsibilities of paraeducators* in inclusive schools have reached new levels of importance. The role of paraeducators has evolved from one of clerical support to personal support, such as feeding and toileting, to responsibilities for providing instructional and behavioral supports that are integral to effective provision of services to students with disabilities.

     This evolution of roles is, in part, due to:

     Higher expectations for all students,

     An increased focus on inclusive education practices, and

     Attention to closing the achievement gap.

With this increased instructional focus, approximately 700,000 paraeducators in U.S. schools are finding their roles are more often inside the general education classroom rather than in "pull-out" settings. This series on the role of paraeducators in inclusive classrooms will focus on three aspects that require increased attention and a commitment to improved practice. They are:

Part 1: Clarifying the roels and responsibilities of paraeducators;

Part 2: Strenghtening the role of certified teachers in providing direction and supervision for paraeducators;

Part 3: Avoding over-use of paraeducators support for individual students.

Click here to continue reading the Tip of the Month and to view a list of possible roles for paraeducators.

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©2011, Stetson & Associates, Inc.

*A paraeducator is an individual who provides instrumental or related support to students under the direction and supervision or a certified teacher.