How This Course Has Helped Me Become a Better Paraprofessional
The course ECCE 2310 has helped me become a better paraprofessional in different ways. First, the course has taught me the advantage and importance of working and communicating with families to better students’ learning. Burden, Paul, and David affirm that education is one career where the teacher, student, and parents or families work as a unit (339). This helped me realize that parents are vital to learning because they provide support to motivate learners to function better in class. Therefore, the course taught me the reasons for working with families. They include informing families of performance expectations, creating open communication, developing friendly relationships, and understanding student home conditions. I learned strategies on how to help work effectively with families. This has helped me be a better paraprofessional who is all-round and can effectively work with parents and learners from diverse cultural settings.
The course has helped me become a better professional and collaborator. The course taught me vital collaboration skills to help me work with colleagues and team members. First, it taught me effective communication skills as well as the collaborative skills needed in teaching to work well with other educators and learners. Also, it has taught me problem-solving skills because conflicts must arise when people work together as a group. This skill shaped me into a better collaborative partner. I also learned conflict resolution skills in solving conflicts among learners and workmates, making me a better and more collaborative teacher. Finally, the course has equipped me with the administrative and management skills necessary for coordinating and implementing the actions identified from collaborative discussions (Burden, Paul, and David 338). By learning all these vital skills, I have developed into a paraprofessional who can effectively collaborate with other educators to better learners’ education.
The course taught me how to assess and grade learners. As such, I have learned the purposes of grading learners, such as informational and administrative functions. Most importantly, it taught me the different grading systems and types of classroom assessments, which could guide me to better grade learners and be able to portray their performances in a manner that parents can understand. Some grading systems include percentage grades, letter grades, and pass-fail grading. The pass-fail grading can be used as it encourages learners to explore new areas of study without the anxiety of lowering their grade point average. Letter grades use letters from A, while the percentage grades represent a child’s score from 0-100 in percent form (Burden, Paul, and David 315). Apart from learning the grading system, this course’s section has helped me identify what to include in report cards and learners’ assessment books. As a result, this part of the course helped me become a better paraprofessional who can appropriately grade and assess learners and give them grades as required.
The course has taught me how to manage misconduct in class and among learners. It did this by teaching me the types of misbehavior and its causes. For example, I learned that a teacher’s teaching style or approach could result in learner misconduct. The course then taught me a three-step strategy response plan for misbehavior. They include situational, mild, and moderate responses to keep learners on task. Burden, Paul, and David affirm that teachers can manage classroom misbehavior among learners by using non-verbal and verbal responses as they are the most appropriate (288). For instance, I learned I could use non-verbal responses like touching students appropriately, standing near the student, ignoring the behavior, and using non-verbal signals. I can also use verbal responses such as using humor, calling on the student, and giving verbal reprimands, among others. This section also taught me ways and strategies to effectively deal with bullying and the importance of using positive reinforcement to control learner misbehavior. Most importantly, it reminded and cautioned me on using negative reinforcement like corporal punishment as it affects a child’s attention and motivation towards learning. Essentially, this chapter of the course ensured I become a better paraprofessional who can effectively manage a classroom and handle learners to stay focused on learning with minimal destruction.
Finally, the course equipped me to be a better paraprofessional who employs diverse instructional approaches to enhance student understanding while learning. Burden, Paul, and David advocate and advise that teachers use teacher-centered and learner-centered instructional approaches to meet learner needs (126). I also learned the importance of applying direct and indirect instructional approaches because learners are different, and their understanding levels differ. With these diverse strategies, I can meet each learner’s milestones and needs regardless of their challenges. In addition, the course reminded me that as a teacher, I should use learner-centered instructional strategies to allow learners to explore and learn independently as I offer guidance. By using direct and indirect plus student-centered strategies, I learned that I could identify my learner’s strengths, potentialities, and weaknesses and effectively design ways of helping the weak learners and improving the potentialities of other average learners. In addition, a student-centered instructional strategy encourages independence among learners, allowing them to grow up as independent and responsible kids with diverse exemplary skills such as problem-solving, communication, and organization. Remarkably, the course has shaped me into an all-around teacher with great instructional approaches who can be an effective and competent teacher.
Burden, Paul R., and David M. Byrd. Methods for effective teaching: Meeting the needs of all students. Allyn & Bacon, 2013.
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Weekly Assignment #1: How has this course helped you become a better Parapro?
Share at least 5 ways this course has prepared you to be an effective paraprofessional in an early-learning classroom. Please number your responses; each should be at least a paragraph (8-10 sentences).
The class is ECCE 2310, and the book is Third:
Burden, Paul R. & Byrd, David M. (2016). Methods for Effective Teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon – 8th Edition