Paraeducator Behavior Modules

Many paraeducators support the academic and social-emotional learning of students with disabilities, but paraeducators often receive little to no training to effectively engage these students. Proper behavioral training for paraeducators can increase school safety, reduce property damage, improve learning, and provide students with disabilities increased access to less restrictive learning environments.  The Center for the School of the Future at Utah State University has created the Paraeducator Behavior Modules (PBM) specifically for paraeducators working with students presenting moderate to significant behavior challenges. Developed by behavior analysts and professionals with extensive experience supporting paraeducators, these three modules guide paraeducators through 15 learning objectives (approximately 12 hours of professional learning) under the direction of their supervising teachers. 

PBM modules are available to school districts, charter schools, and paraeducators for $50 per person.

For additional information, contact David Forbush at david.forbush@usu.edu or (435) 797-9050.

Child speaking with an adult

Register for PBM Modules

Module 1

Identifying and Defining Challenging Behavior

Objective 1: Paraeducators will apply what they learned to determine what a student is “saying” with their challenging behavior.

Rationale: To be effective, paraeducators should learn to recognize and alter environmental variables that may negatively affect student attention, learning, and variables that positively affect behaviors needed to optimize a student’s learning.

Hypothesizing the Antecedents and Consequences for Challenging Behavior

Objective 2: Paraeducators will analyze the data collected on ABC data sheets to hypothesize the antecedents and/or consequences that may contribute to and/or maintain the challenging behavior.

Rationale: To understand why a student may be engaging in challenging behavior, paraeducators need to understand antecedents and consequences. Then we will learn to collect and analyze data to begin looking at any functional relations that exist.

Learn to Use a Variety of Data Collection Tools and Effectively Review Collected Data with Appropriate Staff

Objective 3: Paraeducators will communicate effectively with appropriate staff to review and analyze collected data.

Rationale: As a paraeducator, collecting accurate data is one of the most important things we will do. First, you need to know what the challenging behavior looks like to be ready to collect data as the behavior is occurring. This module will prepare you to choose an appropriate data collection tool to accurately reflect the student’s challenging behavior.

Hypothesizing the Purpose of a Student's Challenging Behavior

Objective 4: Paraeducators will hypothesize the function of the student's challenging behavior using four main functions of behavior.

Rationale: Paraeducators will learn to hypothesize why a student is displaying challenging behavior. Challenging behavior gets the student something they want or gets them out of or helps them avoid something they don’t want. Understanding the four functions of behavior will assist you to better support your student’s in getting their needs met in appropriate ways.

Learn the Components of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) and Identify the Range of Actions You Should Take When Challenging Behavior Occurs

Objective 5: Paraeducators will implement antecedent interventions in the supervising teacher's direction.

Rationale: Paraeducators will learn to components of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) and basic behavioral strategies to employ when a student engages in challenging behavior.

Module 2

Identifying and Manipulating Environmental Variables

Objective 1: Paraeducators will identify and manipulate environmental variables.

Rationale: To be effective, paraeducators should learn to recognize and alter environmental variables that may negatively affect student attention, learning, and variables that positively affect behaviors needed to optimize a student’s learning.

Learn to Hypothesize Potential Functions of Behavior

Objective 2: Paraeducators will learn to hypothesize potential functions of behavior.

Rationale: Paraeducators need to recognize and understand the four primary functions of behavior and review all collected data to determine “why” a student may be engaging in challenging behavior.

Learn to Employ Function-Matched Interventions

Objective 3: Paraeducators will learn to employ function-matched interventions.

Rationale: Paraeducators will learn some of the most commonly used behavioral interventions and how to employ them based on the hypothesized function of a student’s challenging behavior.

Intervention Considerations for Individual Students

Objective 4: Paraeducators will understand considerations and resources needed to successfully implement behavior interventions.

Rationale: Paraeducators will recognize and understand the required elements needed for effective implementation of function-matched interventions such as social considerations, plan simplicity, plan efficiency and resources needed to effectively implement the interventions.

Implementing Interventions with Fidelity

Objective 5: Paraeducators will understand how to implement interventions with fidelity.

Rationale: Paraeducators will learn the components of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) including behavior reduction and skill acquisition goals. You will learn how to implement interventions and fidelity for each of the four functions of behavior.

Roles and Responsibilities

Objective 6: Paraeducators will learn roles and responsibilities of staff in regard to the creation and implementation of a BIP.

Rationale: Paraeducators recognize that teachers and professional staff determine if a BIP is needed. They also recognize professional staff produce BIPS and finally, they are aware of the criteria directing development of a BIP.

Module 3

Vital Elements of a BIP

Objective 1: Paraeducators will learn vital elements of a BIP.

Rationale: Paraeducators will understand the vital elements of a BIP and what elements will have the most significant impact on student outcomes.

BIP Roles and Responsibilities

Objective 2: Paraeducators will learn BIP roles and responsibilities.

Rationale: Paraeducators will understand the roles and responsibilities of staff members relating to BIP creation and implementation.

Assessing a School’s Capacity to Implement a BIP

Objective 3: Paraeducators will understand the school’s capacity to implement a BIP.

Rationale: To ensure fidelity, paraeducators need to understand their schools capacity to fully implement a BIP.

Determining if a BIP is Effective

Objective 4: Paraeducators will learn to determine if a BIP is effective.

Rationale: After a BIP is implemented, paraeducators working parallel to their teacher will review student data to evaluate a BIPs current effectiveness.