Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Challenging Behaviors: Perceived Training Needs of Special Education Paraprofessionals
by Preston, Zhanna B., Ed.D., Brandman University, 2015, 236; 3701025
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to identify the most challenging and frequently occurring types of student behavioral problems that paraprofessionals in the K-12 public school setting encounter. In addition, the purpose of the study included identifying the most effective ways to prepare special education paraprofessionals to manage the most challenging and frequently occurring student behaviors through effective professional development practices.

Methodology: The mixed methods study primarily involved collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data through on-line surveys of paraprofessionals, special education teachers, and school principals. Phenomenology and grounded theory elements served as the descriptive study’s theoretical foundations. A policy Delphi method used an expert panel that represented a diverse group of public school districts in Riverside County, California.

Findings: Analysis of data revealed the 12 most challenging student behavior types, including eight most frequently occurring student behaviors in the k-12 school setting. Key topics and effective professional development delivery methods for special education paraprofessionals in the area of managing challenging behaviors were identified.

Conclusions: As a result of the study and review of prior research, an outline of suggested professional development activities was developed. Effective training delivery methods involving the principles of andragogy were also identified.

Recommendations: Schools and districts must (1) include paraprofessionals’, teachers’, and principals’ input when developing professional development activities for special education paraprofessionals; (2) focus the behavioral training for paraprofessionals on the most challenging and frequently occurring student behaviors in the k-12 school setting; (3) apply principles of andragogy when providing professional development to paraprofessionals; (4) make a shift from one-day training events to on-going, systematic, research-based, consistent, relevant training that involves practice time, meaningful feedback, modeling, and activities aiming at the higher level thinking skills identified in Bloom’s taxonomy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pendley, Philip O.
Commitee: Miller, Cary, Platter, La Faye
School: Brandman University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Special education
Keywords: Adult learning, Andragogy, Behavioral supports, Challenging student behavior, Delphi study, PBIS, Professional development, Special education paraprofessionals
Publication Number: 3701025
ISBN: 9781321713572
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