Welcome to OPEPP​
Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation

Introductory Scenario

Jill had been working as a paraprofessional for years and she was very efficient at her work.  She and her teacher partner could zip through the content and lessons with ease because they had such great systems.  But since the pandemic their students needs had shifted.  They needed more learning and behavior support and Jill and her teacher felt like their pace was shifting too.  

Many of the students were in need of smaller bits of learning, broken down into chunks and Jill ended up adding in specific scaffolds or particular supports when they were learning something new. One student in particular was very overwhelmed by the new content.  They had found him hiding one day when he didn’t want to come class.  Together the teaching team realized, he needed the teachers to pre-teach him vocabulary so he felt more comfortable in the lesson.  Throughout the lesson he needed more pauses and a review of concepts at shorter increments of time. Upon working more closely with him, Jill realized she needed to draw things out for him and give him visual aids to help him connect to the ideas being taught. 

  All this seemed at first to take time, time they felt like they didn’t have, but once the team saw that all of the students benefited from what this one child needed they saw that their overall teaching went more smoothly and they spent less time correcting errors, and going back and reteaching content after quizzes.  The scaffolding was working for the whole class.  They began to go slow so they could go fast!

Efficiency cannot be the goal of education. It just doesn’t work when it is the focus.  In Jill and her teacher’s situation, being efficient meant overlooking what the kids truly needed.  Many students required more time to learn things, or they require different sorts of learning experiences from the standard ones.  This meant the learning was more in depth and the content they learned was used to enrich each follow up lesson. Things began to come easier and easier for the whole class and especially their one student who never again ran from class. 

This UNIT: 

This unit presents an alternative way to think about teaching itself.   When teaching intersects with students’ readiness to learn something, it makes learning more interesting and even fun.

Take Notes

  1. What is your best learning experience in school? Why do you remember it?
  2. Did you ever feel like not showing up for class because the content was too much or coming at you too fast?  
  3. How would scaffolding have helped?
  4. What is the best teaching you have seen in your current role? What made it the best? 
  5. Did it involve scaffolds that held students up so they could have access to the content?

Module: Helping with Instruction

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