In the course of a single school day, paraeducators might find themselves working with students in multiple classrooms and in other settings like the cafeteria, playgrounds, buses, or vocational settings. At some point during the day, they will probably be expected to support a student who needs more than academic help. Regardless of their specific role, paraeducators need to be familiar with effective behavior management strategies.
Paraeducators are not responsible for managing student behavior on their own. The team of teachers and administrators create the behavior plan for the students. The paraeducator's job is to support and assist the teacher or administrator by following that behavior plan. The supervising teacher should explain all the material in a student's behavior intervention plan (BIP) and/or individualized education plan (IEP) to the paraeducator, including the role he or she wants the paraeducator to play. It's also important that paraeducators understand and follow the district's policies on discipline, restraint and seclusion, and requirements for documenting student behavior.
Many issues beyond school can impact student behavior. For example, student behavior can be impacted by disabilities, language and cultural differences, physical or mental health, stress, social difficulties, family dynamics, academic frustration, or substance abuse. All behavior is a means of communication. The four most common things students communicate through their behavior are needs and desires:
If we can understand what the behavior is communicating, we can often help students learn more appropriate ways to express themselves.
The supervising teacher will provide direction on the specific strategies he or she wants the paraeducator to use. But there are things paraeducators can do that are universally helpful in behavior management.
Exceptional Child includes a variety of courses designed to support behavior management for paraeducators to help them better address the needs of ALL students.