The Career Opportunities Program: A Paraprofessional Approach To Teacher Education
The purpose of this study was to examine certain aspects of a paraprofessional approach to teacher education. The paraprofessional approach refers to actual on-going training within the school classroom structure in addition to professional training from an institution of higher learning.
American public education is at the cross-roads of a major decision today. Considerable evidence indicates that it has been ineffective, particularly in reaching and teaching the culturally disadvantaged child. Recent physical violence and verbal protests are indicative of the dissatisfaction of many segments of the population. The dissatisfaction lies chiefly with the school's inability to provide true equality of opportunity. The school is viewed as immutable in organization, personnel, and process. Teacher training must be improved to facilitate the many changes needed in the schools. Through a paraprofessional approach to teacher training, it is envisaged that the resultant teachers will be sympathetic to the needs of the community and the students they serve. Many programs over the past two decades have introduced auxiliary personnel into the public school to relieve teachers of routine non-instructional tasks. Recent programs have utilized low-income personnel to provide teacher assistance and community input into the schools. Increased use of auxiliaries has necessitated additional training to improve their effectiveness. If auxiliaries could be professionally trained to become teachers, they would have empathy for the background of the students and provide a success model with which the students could identify. Summary It is the intent of this study to describe major past programs utilizing auxiliary personnel in an attempt to trace the growth of the role of the auxiliary to professional status.