Author Q&A with Julie Causton and Kate MacLeod – The Paraprofessional’s Handbook
The responsibilities of paraprofessionals in today’s inclusive classroom are as varied as they are essential: helping teachers plan and implement instruction, consistently reinforcing positive behavior supports, promoting peer connections, collaborating with other members of the inclusion team, and much more. For new and experienced paraprofessionals looking to excel in their complex, multi-faceted role, the upcoming second edition of The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms is their one-stop professional resource. We recently asked authors Julie Causton and Kate MacLeod about what’s new in this updated edition and their advice for paraprofessionals struggling with today’s educational realities during COVID-19.
Q: We’re excited about the new edition of The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms. Why do you think an updated edition of this book is especially important for inclusive schools to have right now?
A: We know firsthand that paraprofessionals are often the individuals who make effective inclusion for students a reality. So we’ve designed this updated edition to give paraprofessionals the most up-to-date methods on how to support students with academic, behavioral, social and emotional needs.
Q: What would you say are the most valuable updates and additions you’ve made to the new edition?
A: We’ve added a brand-new chapter on Respectful Support for Developing Student Independence that helps paraprofessionals understand how to fade their support while simultaneously increasing their students’ confidence, self-advocacy skills, access to content and peers, and sense of belonging.
Q: Can you talk a little about the package of online materials that come with this book? What have you included, and how will these materials help paraprofessionals succeed on the job?
A: We are excited about the online materials. They include printable activities, reflections, resources, and tools for paraprofessionals to use right away in the classroom to help them support students, collaborate with colleagues, and gain deeper knowledge about themselves and the field of inclusive education. We think these online materials will help paraprofessionals engage in learning in a much more active and practical way.
Q: Paraprofessionals who are currently in training or just starting a new position may be struggling right now, in light of the upheavals in education due to COVID-19. As experienced educators, what would you say to newer paraprofessionals who are feeling scared, stressed, and uncertain?
A: Every day, in big and small ways, you are making an important difference in the lives of your students and your colleagues. But be sure to take care of yourself in order to keep motivated and focused. We recommend grounding your work in love and compassion for yourself, your students and families, and your colleagues. We have an entire chapter dedicated to supporting yourself and building your support community in this book—you could even read that chapter first!
Interested in learning more?
The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms
An essential hands-on guide for new and seasoned paraprofessionals—and a must-have for the educators and other professionals who support them—this empowering book takes the guesswork out of this critical classroom role so you can help students with disabilities reach their full potential.