Module: Communication and Collaboration

Introduction to the Module

This module is designed for paraprofessional educators, like you, whose jobs inevitably involve communication—in fact, lots of communication. It explores ways that effective communication can improve your work with students (including those for whom English is a second language), parents, your supervising teacher, other educators, and professionals. It also talks about the value of teaming as a critical way for educators, including paraprofessionals, to plan, design, evaluate, and modify instruction for individual students and groups of students.

The module is organized, and each unit presents information and activities relating to a topic about communication. These topics treat effective communication as the set of skills most likely to promote effective collaboration, and they treat effective collaboration among the adults in schools and school districts as the set of practices most likely to result in effective instruction.

Topics in this unit are:

Each unit includes various learning activities. An overview summarizes the major ideas presented in the unit; a video webinar presents relevant information. Several other materials (e.g., activities, tools for the field) help the paraprofessional educator (and other readers of the module) think about the information and practice the skills that the unit presents. Many of the units also include documents providing links to relevant on-line resources.

Module Objectives

Upon completion of the module, Communication and Collaboration, the paraprofessional educator will meet the following Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) objectives and the following Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation (OPEPP) objectives.

Source of Standard Standard Number Domain of Practice Standard
CEC P1K2 Knowledge Rights and responsibilities of individuals with exceptionalities, and other related stakeholders
CEC P1K4 Knowledge Impact of culture and the contributions of culturally diverse groups
CEC P1K5 Knowledge Role of families in the educational process
CEC P1S1 Skill Use basic educational terminology
CEC P1S3 Skill Demonstrate respect and appreciation for differences in values, languages, and customs among home, school, and community
CEC P3K1 Knowledge Cultural perspectives influencing the relationships among families, schools, and communities as related to instruction
CEC P4S1 Skill Demonstrate proficiency in academics including oral and written communication, literacy, and mathematical skills appropriate to the paraeducator’s assignment
CEC P5K1 Knowledge Communicative intents of behaviors
CEC P5S5 Skill Establish and maintain rapport with learners
CEC P6K2 Knowledge Implications of language levels for individuals with exceptionalities learning the dominant language
CEC P6K3 Knowledge Characteristics of one’s own culture and use of language, and how these may differ from individuals with exceptionalities from other cultures
CEC P6K4 Knowledge Implications of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication
CEC P6S5 Skill Support individuals with exceptionalities in the maintenance and generalization of strategies for effective oral and written communication across environments as determined by the instructional team
CEC P7K2 Knowledge Roles and responsibilities of the paraeducator related to instruction, intervention, and direct service
CEC P7S1  Skill Follow written plans, seeking clarification as needed
CEC P8S1  Skill Record information in various formats as determined by the instructional team
CEC P8S2 Skill Assist in collecting and providing objective, accurate information for the instructional team
CEC P9S1 Skill Conduct activities in compliance with applicable laws and policies
CEC P9S2 Skill Maintain the dignity, privacy, and confidentiality of all individuals with exceptionalities, families, and school employees
CEC P9S4 Skill Provide accurate and timely information about individuals with exceptionalities to individuals who have the need and the right to know as determined by the instructional team
CEC P9S5 Skill Report suspected child abuse, suicidal ideation, and /or dangerous behaviors as required by law, policies and local procedures
CEC P9S6 Skill Practice within the limits of the defined paraeducator role
CEC P9S7 Skill Respect role differences of teachers, paraeducators, and other professional practitioners
CEC P9S8 Skill Recognize the role of the teacher as a leader instructional team
CEC P9S9 Skill Follow chain of command to address policy questions, system issues, and personnel practices
CEC P9S11 Skill Practice with competence, integrity, and sound judgment
CEC P9S12 Skill Request and use feedback from supervising professionals
CEC P9S13 Skill Reflect on one’s performance to improve practice
CEC P10K1 Knowledge Purposes of collaborative teams
CEC P10K2 Knowledge Common concerns of families of individuals with exceptionalities
CEC P10K3 Knowledge Roles and relationships of paraeducators and other stakeholders on the instructional team
CEC P10S1 Skill Use local policies for confidential communication about team practices
CEC P10S2 Skill Forge respectful relationships with teachers, colleagues and family members
CEC P10S3 Skill Communicate effectively with stakeholders as determined by the instructional team
CEC P10S4 Skill Participate actively in conferences and team meetings
CEC P10S5 Skill Support individuals with exceptionalities by modeling and facilitating the use of collaborative problem solving and conflict management
OH 1.5 Skill Observe and collect data as part of progress monitoring as determined by the instructional team
OH 3.1 Skill Work effectively with teachers and follow instructions of professionals, as determined by the instructional team
OH 3.2 Skill Collaborate as part of teacher-based teams (e.g., data teams, grade-level teams), as determined by the instructional team.
OH 3.3 Skill Promote full participation of children’s families, as determined by the instructional team
OH 4.1 Skill Understand non-linguistic modes of communication used by student, as determined by the instructional team
OH 4.2 Skill Support the development of oral and written communication by reinforcing language and speech skills of students with disabilities, as determined by the instructional team

Resource Information


Unit 1: Principles of Effective Communication

Unit 2: Communicating with Students

Unit 3: Teams and Teaming

Unit 4: Communicating with your Supervising Teacher

Unit 5: Communicating with Speakers of Other Languages Than English

Unit 6: Communicating with Parents

Unit 7: Inter-agency Collaboration

Unit 8: Recording and Sharing Data 

Unit 9: Confidentiality

Unit 10: Putting it All Together