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twin2 twin2 is offline
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 15,514
Senior Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 15,514
Senior Member
Still thinking about this
Old 01-19-2014, 01:28 PM
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In the school system I work, paras are there to help the students. If a teacher does not know how to use us, we may wind up simply watching instruction. When that occurs, it is not the para's fault, and really not the teacher's either. Where I work, here is what happens (theoretically):

--Spec Ed teacher works with teacher to determine needs of students with IEPs and 504s. The spec ed teacher should receive a copy of the plans in advance, so that they can plan instruction for those students.

--At times, the spec ed teacher will be in the classroom, teaching small groups.

--At times, the para will work at the back table with students, reinforcing skills. For example, in a second grade classroom, the para may sit at the back table and call students back to practice their math facts for five minutes each. One class I was in, the teacher had me call back every student in the class and have them do flash cards for one minute each. Then I would log the progress. At first, it did not feel like that was beneficial, but after a few times, I saw an improvement. By the end of the school year, the data was the proof. The kids did so much better on their math facts than they were doing initially.

--Sometimes, the para may work with the spec ed teacher while the groups are pulled. One spec ed teacher used to pull those with an IEP to take tests in her room. As the para, I was there to help keep students on task, and to answer questions they might ask. Other times, we pulled them to do work that they required assistance with.

--If the teacher provides you with plans, ask the teacher to include in the plans what the activity might look like for the IEP/504 students / para. If you do not receive plans, then ask for instructions for you with each lesson.

Something to keep in mind, unless you are assigned as a one on one, you should not become anyone's side-kick. You want to distance yourself, only coming into the picture as the student requests help, you notice the student struggling, or you were asked to do a specific activity with the student. You want to avoid causing the student to develop learned-helplessness.

One way to help prevent this, when the student asks you to read something, unless that student has human reader as an accommodation, you should ask the student to read the passage and you will help when he/she gets stuck. If the student struggles to read the passage, you may repeat each line as they have read it to increase their comprehension (unless it is a test).

If you are specifically assigned to one student, you should receive daily instructions or plans to work with that student.
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