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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation

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:

There are 10 units. Each includes a variety of learning activities: 

  • READ… an overview summarizes the major ideas presented in the unit, 

  • WATCH… a slideshow presents relevant information, 

  • ENGAGE… through other materials (e.g., activities, tools for the field) help parapros (and other readers of the module) think about the information and practice the skills that the unit presents, and 

  • CONNECT…Relevant online resources many of the units also include documents providing links to relevant on-line resources. 

Module Objectives

The Council of Exceptional Children is the largest international educational organization that sets standards for professionals who work with children with disabilities and youth with gifts and talents. It is dedicated to improving outcomes for children by supporting the professionals who support them.  Check out this link to their website where you can become a member and gain resources, supports and connect to a peer network of other paraprofessionals.  


By completing the module, Communication and Collaboration, the paraprofessional educator will accomplish a number of module-specific outcomes. These outcomes align with several Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) Special Education Paraeducator Guidelines. The table below shows this alignment.


Source of StandardStandard NumberDomain of PracticeStandard
CECP1K2KnowledgeRights and responsibilities of individuals with exceptionalities, and other related stakeholders
CECP1K4KnowledgeImpact of culture and the contributions of culturally diverse groups
CECP1K5KnowledgeRole of families in the educational process
CECP1S1SkillUse basic educational terminology
CECP1S3SkillDemonstrate respect and appreciation for differences in values, languages, and customs among home, school, and community
CECP3K1KnowledgeCultural perspectives influencing the relationships among families, schools, and communities as related to instruction
CECP4S1SkillDemonstrate proficiency in academics including oral and written communication, literacy, and mathematical skills appropriate to the paraeducator’s assignment
CECP5K1KnowledgeCommunicative intents of behaviors
CECP5S5SkillEstablish and maintain rapport with learners
CECP6K2KnowledgeImplications of language levels for individuals with exceptionalities learning the dominant language
CECP6K3KnowledgeCharacteristics of one’s own culture and use of language, and how these may differ from individuals with exceptionalities from other cultures
CECP6K4KnowledgeImplications of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication
CECP6S5SkillSupport individuals with exceptionalities in the maintenance and generalization of strategies for effective oral and written communication across environments as determined by the instructional team
CECP7K2KnowledgeRoles and responsibilities of the paraeducator related to instruction, intervention, and direct service
CECP7S1 SkillFollow written plans, seeking clarification as needed
CECP8S1 SkillRecord information in various formats as determined by the instructional team
CECP8S2SkillAssist in collecting and providing objective, accurate information for the instructional team
CECP9S1SkillConduct activities in compliance with applicable laws and policies
CECP9S2SkillMaintain the dignity, privacy, and confidentiality of all individuals with exceptionalities, families, and school employees
CECP9S4SkillProvide 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
CECP9S5SkillReport suspected child abuse, suicidal ideation, and /or dangerous behaviors as required by law, policies and local procedures
CECP9S6SkillPractice within the limits of the defined paraeducator role
CECP9S7SkillRespect role differences of teachers, paraeducators, and other professional practitioners
CECP9S8SkillRecognize the role of the teacher as a leader instructional team
CECP9S9SkillFollow chain of command to address policy questions, system issues, and personnel practices
CECP9S11SkillPractice with competence, integrity, and sound judgment
CECP9S12SkillRequest and use feedback from supervising professionals
CECP9S13SkillReflect on one’s performance to improve practice
CECP10K1KnowledgePurposes of collaborative teams
CECP10K2KnowledgeCommon concerns of families of individuals with exceptionalities
CECP10K3KnowledgeRoles and relationships of paraeducators and other stakeholders on the instructional team
CECP10S1SkillUse local policies for confidential communication about team practices
CECP10S2SkillForge respectful relationships with teachers, colleagues and family members
CECP10S3SkillCommunicate effectively with stakeholders as determined by the instructional team
CECP10S4SkillParticipate actively in conferences and team meetings
CECP10S5SkillSupport individuals with exceptionalities by modeling and facilitating the use of collaborative problem solving and conflict management
OH1.5SkillObserve and collect data as part of progress monitoring as determined by the instructional team
OH3.1SkillWork effectively with teachers and follow instructions of professionals, as determined by the instructional team
OH3.2SkillCollaborate as part of teacher-based teams (e.g., data teams, grade-level teams), as determined by the instructional team.
OH3.3SkillPromote full participation of children’s families, as determined by the instructional team
OH4.1SkillUnderstand non-linguistic modes of communication used by student, as determined by the instructional team
OH4.2SkillSupport the development of oral and written communication by reinforcing language and speech skills of students with disabilities, as determined by the instructional team


Module: Communication and Collaboration

Keep Track of Your Progress


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