Paraprofessionals support teachers and students in the classroom. Their roles and responsibilities vary; however, their goal is always to improve student achievement. The purpose of the study was to fill a gap in the literature related to special education paraprofessionals’ perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs on the support and trainings they receive prior to and during their job as a paraprofessional for students in a special education setting. Generic qualitative methodology was used to capture the thoughts, experience, and perceptions of 42 paraprofessionals across the United States. Data collection included an eight-question online questionnaire. Results of the study revealed five patterns including (a) paraprofessionals are coming in with some training, (b) their ongoing training is not always consistent, (c) the biggest areas of struggle are addressing challenging behavior, (d) their education does not always prepare them for the responsibilities in the classroom, and (e) further support is needed for them to fulfil their responsibilities. After further analysis and synthesis, the five patterns were then condensed into two overarching themes which included paraprofessional training deficits and need for behavior support training. These findings are significant to school leaders and educators in order to properly support paraprofessionals in their roles of ensuring student learning and success.
paraprofessional, special education, autism, qualitative research design, generic qualitative research, education
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Recommended APA Citation
Max, C. S., & McCoy-Dailey, K. (2024). Paraprofessionals in a Special Education Setting: A Qualitative Exploration of Their Perceptions. The Qualitative Report, 29(1), 103-115. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2024.6532