In between special needs teachers and students: paraprofessionals work in self-contained classrooms for students with intellectual disabilities in Sweden

Daniel Östlund, Thomas Barow, Kajsa Dahlberg, Anette Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Based on street-level bureaucracy, this study investigates the paraprofessional role and assignments in self-contained classrooms for students with intellectual disabilities in Sweden. The research design contains a mixed method approach using a digital questionnaire for paraprofessionals (N = 60) and semi-structured interviews with four special teachers and five paraprofessionals. The results demonstrate that paraprofessionals cooperate with special needs teachers and have a supportive role working with students throughout the day. A lack of support for paraprofessionals’ professional development and few opportunities for them to co-plan, co-teach and co-assess with special needs teachers is said to hinder this advancement. The complexity of being both an educator in the classroom and a caregiver taking the responsibility for students’ wellbeing, peer-to-peer relations and care orientated work tasks are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-182
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogy (50301)

Keywords

  • Care taking
  • paraprofessionals
  • self contained classrooms
  • special needs teachers
  • students with intellectual disabilities

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