Perceptions of Special Education Paraprofessionals Regarding Training
AuthorBerecin-Rascon, Maria Ann
AdvisorChalfant, James C
Committee ChairChalfant, James C
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractNational shortages of special education teachers exist due to increased enrollments, retirements, and teacher attrition. In the Southwest, rapid population growth also contributes to the personnel shortage. Paraprofessionals may be a promising group of potential teachers (Smith, 2003; Tillery et al, 2003; White, 2004). Little research exists concerning the perceptions of paraprofessionals about their training and interest in teaching. This study investigated the perceptions of 48 paraprofessionals concerning training experiences in one Southwestern school district. A 46-item Paraprofessional Training Questionnaire sought opinions about preparation, types of training, the alignment of training with the competencies from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the extent training and length of service were related to a desire to enter the field of education. Responses were analyzed using the SPSS System (2004). Data analysis for closed-ended questions presented response distribution among categories. Descriptive statements were used to clarify, summarize, and interpret the data. Cross tabulation tables assisted in identifying relationships between specific topics and the demographic characteristics of the respondents. Seventy-two percent of paraprofessionals reported being offered training opportunities to assist their work. Eighty-three percent reported the training they received assisted them. Training opportunities varied in topic, but were aligned with the CEC knowledge and skill competencies for special education paraprofessionals.Over 53.2% of the paraprofessionals reported they were Satisfied or Very Satisfied with the training opportunities provided. However, more training opportunities were desired by both beginning and experienced paraprofessionals. Opportunities to meet with supervising teachers varied, as did attendance at training which fostered collaborate relationships with teachers. The relationship between years of service and the desire to become a special education teacher was not statistically significant. However, paraprofessionals with fewer years of service were more interested in becoming teachers. This study provides local and state educational agencies with a framework for designing a supportive and defined infrastructure for implementing competency-based training programs for paraprofessionals, supporting special education teachers, and increasing the pool of qualified special education staff in the schools. Districts may find well-designed paraprofessional training programs could assist in meeting the need for a qualified special education teacher workforce.
Degree ProgramSpecial Education & Rehabilitation