Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dynamics Between Special Education Teachers and Paraeducators in Special Day Classroom Settings Serving Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
by Nakama, Sharon Ishida, Ed.D., Brandman University, 2015, 180; 3700329
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose: The purpose of this causal-comparative research mixed methods study is to identify the SE teacher leadership skills that SE teachers and SE paraeducators perceive are most important to SDC team effectiveness in secondary special education programs that serve students with moderate to severe disabilities.

Methodology: A causal-comparative mixed methods study was conducted to identify the SE teacher leadership skills that SE teachers and SE paraeducators perceive are most important to SDC team effectiveness. A sequential exploratory design demonstrating the emphasis on the quantitative section of the study prior to examining relationships between the findings of the qualitative data was implemented. A descriptive survey was distributed among two school districts in Riverside County, and individual interviews also took place.

Findings: Special educators believe visionary leadership, professionalism, and maintaining integrity are key skills special education teacher leaders need to possess to develop or improve team effectiveness in the classroom. Participants expressed extremely similar responses in understanding the importance of the impact a special education teacher leader can have on the special day classroom's team effectiveness. Specific barriers and strategies were discovered in this study.

Conclusions: Several conclusions were produced from this study. Staffing and scheduling are the major issues in many special day classrooms impacting team effectiveness. Special education teacher leaders need to be visionary, to possess organizational skills, and to maintain integrity to develop trust. Special education teachers must provide respect and effectively communicate to build team effectiveness in the SDC. Additionally, special education staff need increased administrative and colleague support.

Recommendations: School administration must consider the importance of providing opportunities for special day class teams to collaborate on an on-going basis. Districts need to consider providing leadership training sessions specifically designed for special education teachers who are placed in situations with two or more paraeducators in their classrooms. Districts also need to reconsider providing on-going training for special education paraeducators, focusing on the paraeducator as a professional. Finally, school districts need to reevaluate the situation of substitutes for special education teachers and paraeducators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Platter, La Faye
Commitee: Greenberg, Jonathan, Kedziora, Martinrex
School: Brandman University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Special education
Keywords: Collaboration, Paraeducators, Special education teachers, Students with disabilities, Team effectiveness
Publication Number: 3700329
ISBN: 978-1-321-70231-6
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