An Analysis of Teachers’ and Paraeducators’ Roles and Responsibilities with Implications for Professional Development

Abstract

There is a lack of documented evidence related to the relationships existing between paraeducators and teachers working in early childhood classrooms. Based on a 2-year project with three phases of data collection, the authors explore the duties of paraeducators and their working relationships with the teachers with whom they team. Based on findings from the data collected, the authors make specific recommendations for targeted professional development that is designed to improve collaboration and skill sets for paraprofessionals within early childhood learning environments. The position taken is one that supports collaborative teamwork designed to maximize the learning of young children.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Appl, D. (2006). First-year early childhood special education teachers and their assistants: Teaching along with her. Teaching Exceptional Children, 38(6), 34–40.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2008). 20082009 Occupational outlook handbook. Washington, DC: Author. Available http://www.bls.gov/oco/.

  3. DfES. (2003). Raising standards and tackling workload: A national agreement. London: DfES.

    Google Scholar 

  4. DfES. (2005). School workforce in England. London: DfES.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Gerlach, K. (2002). Teamwork: Key to success for teachers and paraeducators. In V. Gaylord, T. Wallace, A. L. Pickett, & M. Likins (Eds.), Impact: Feature issue on paraeducators supporting students with disabilities and at-risk, 15(2) [on-line]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available from http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/152.

  6. Groom, B. (2006). The teaching assistant and behavior building relationships for learning: The developing role of the teaching assistant. Support for Learning, 21(4), 199–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hans, S., & Korfmacher, J. (2002). The professional development of paraprofessionals. Zero to Three, 23(2), 4–8.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Hyson, M. (Ed.). (2003). Preparing early childhood professional NAEYC’s standards for programs. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Likins, M. (2002). Effective training for paraprofessionals. In V. Gaylord, T. Wallace, A. L. Pickett, & M. Likins (Eds.), Impact: Feature issue on paraeducators supporting students with disabilities and at-risk, 15(2) [on-line]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available from http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/152.

  10. Moran, A., & Abbott, L. (2002). Developing inclusive schools: The pivotal role of teaching assistants in promoting inclusion in special and mainstream schools in Northern Ireland. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17(2), 161–174.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Natzke, J. H., & Bennet, W. S., Jr. (1970). Teacher aide use and role satisfaction of inner-city teachers. Education and Urban Society, 2, 295–314. doi:10.1177/001312457000200303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. § 6319 (2008).

  13. Pickett, A. (1999). Strengthening teacher/provider-paraeducator teams: Guidelines for paraeducator roles, preparation and supervision. New York: National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals in Education and Related Services, Center for Advanced Study in Education, Graduate School, City University of New York.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Ratcliff, N., Jones, C., Vaden, S. R., Sheehan, H., & Hunt, G. H. (2011). Paraprofessionals in early childhood classrooms: An examination of duties and responsibilities. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 31(2), 163–179.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Stewart, W. (2004, December 3). Another blow to staff. Retrieved January 26, 2011, from http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=2055642.

  16. Takala, M. (2007). The work of classroom assistants in special and mainstream education in Finland. British Journal of Special Education, 34(1), 50–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Tan, F. (2006, September). The enhanced role of teaching assistants in schooling remodeling in primary schools in England: Some reflections on teacher education in China. Paper presented at the meeting of the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Warwick.

  18. Wallace, T., Shin, J., Bartholomay, T., & Stahl, B. J. (2001). Knowledge and skills for teachers supervising the work of paraprofessionals. Teaching Exceptional Children, 67(4), 520–533.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cathy R. Jones.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jones, C.R., Ratcliff, N.J., Sheehan, H. et al. An Analysis of Teachers’ and Paraeducators’ Roles and Responsibilities with Implications for Professional Development. Early Childhood Educ J 40, 19–24 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-011-0487-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Paraeducators
  • Teaching teams
  • Professional development