Alexandria Digital Research Library

Coaching in Special Education: Toward a Model of Differentiated Professional Development for Elementary School Paraeducators

Kirk-Martinez, Jacqueline Faith
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education, Joint Program Cal Poly SLO
Degree Supervisor:
Naftaly Glasman
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Education, Teacher Training, Education, Special, Psychology, Behavioral, and Education, Leadership
Teacher Training
Applied Behavioral Analysis
Professional Development
Special Education
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ed.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011

Although there is a considerable amount of research studies about effective professional development, a literature review revealed that educators are not receiving effective professional development in order to improve instruction. What is paramount in the studies of professional development is that the traditional one-shot model does not meet the needs of all educators. This study aims to consider differentiated (targeted) professional development as it examines the correlation between the training followed by the coaching of paraeducators, trained in applied behavioral analysis (ABA) in one district. One model suggests that differentiated professional development through coaching and utilizing videotaping provides effective implementation of applied behavioral analysis. The research questions are: How might coaching contribute to the effective implementation of ABA strategies within special education? What components of coaching are most effective for paraeducators, in implementing the ABA research-based methodology in special education? The goal of the study was to determine if the paraeducators decreased their prompting intensity, while increasing the rate of reinforcement. The lessening of the prompting while increasing the reinforcement is a more complex element of ABA.

Through the coaching and videotaping, the paraeducators learned specific techniques using prompting and reinforcement. After the coach provided the basic ABA training, four paraeducators began implementing prompting and reinforcement while the researcher observed, collected data, and videotaped the performances. The coach and the paraeducators debriefed and reviewed the videotape, and the coach provided guided coaching within this series of professional development days.

Findings attained through documentation analyses, observations, and surveys were examined. The rate of reinforcement increased while the lessening of prompting decreased. Although the goal was obtained in general, future questions developed. Two questions are: did the paraeducators improve because there was a greater awareness of the prompting and reinforcement provided, or was the professional development provided in a model that allowed for effective responses to the intervention? The paraeducators provided survey feedback expressing that the use of coaching paired with videotaping was an effective component of professional development and met the differentiated and individualized needs of each paraeducator. The study ends with suggestions for further research and implications for practice.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (152 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
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