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New Metaphors for Teacher/Paraeducator Relationships

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education

ISBN: 978-1-78441-612-6, eISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

Publication date: 3 February 2015


Special education teachers and paraeducators who generated and analyzed metaphors to describe their relationships uncovered insights into how they perceive their roles and responsibilities, and identified models for a more effective collaboration. The metaphors generated by 67 special education teachers and paraeducators indicate that they value relationships characterized by compatibility (e.g., “peanut butter and jelly”) and coordination of effort (e.g., “well-oiled machine”) and have diverse views on the relative contributions paraeducators make to the instructional program (e.g., “my right arm” vs. “icing on the cake”). Notably absent is acknowledgment of the teacher’s critical role as team leader, responsible for directing the work of paraeducators; metaphors like “two peas in a pod” far outnumber those like “architect and builder.” The chapter includes a description of a process that teachers and paraeducators can use to generate and analyze metaphors to serve as models for a more effective collaboration; examples are provided.



Stivers, J. and Cramer, S. (2015), "New Metaphors for Teacher/Paraeducator Relationships", Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 27-47.



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