Maximising the Contribution of Paraprofessionals in Schools: A Win-Win-Win Story

By Deslea Konza and Leanne Fried.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Paraprofessionals are used in a variety of ways in schools, but in many cases their contribution is limited to resource management or helping a struggling student “finish something off” in a small group or individual session. This paper will report on a project in which a university mentor worked with four paraprofessionals to support small groups of junior primary students who were struggling with basic literacy acquisition. They were taught to use “scripts” to move through carefully sequenced lessons, and to monitor student progress on a daily basis. The students made significant progress throughout the year, but the personal and professional stories of the paraprofessionals surprised all involved. This paper will focus on their stories as they grew in both skills and confidence. There was also wide recognition of their important contribution to the school by the staff and principal. Recommendations to maximise the input of these important members of the school community conclude the paper.

Keywords: Professional Development, Paraprofessionals in Schools

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 9, pp.115-124. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 795.514KB).

Dr. Deslea Konza

Director, Faculty of Arts and Education, School of Education, Fogarty Learning Centre, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia

Deslea Konza has experience teaching students of all ages with a range of special needs, including those associated with blindness, profound hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and mulitple disabilities. She currently coordinates undergraduate and postgraduate programs in special education at the University of Wollongong, including mandatory subjects that all preservice teachers must complete. She has published in the areas of special education policy, teacher education, hearing impairment, gifted education, and dual exceptionality. Her current research interests include reading disability, students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, students with dual exceptionalities (including gifted students with social and emotional problems), and effective teaching.

Leanne Fried

Research Fellowship, School of Education, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Leanne Fried is currently employed in the Fogarty Learning Centre at Edith Cowan University, Western Austraia. Her fellowship involves working in a variety of projects with industry partners, focusing on student early literacy intervention in schools, value-adding to current literacy programs, and the training of pre-service teachers as proficient literacy developers. She is also pursuing her doctoral work on student motivation and emotion regulation strategies with a focus on classroom application.

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