Supporting Instructional Assistants in an Elementary Learning Center Model: A Resource Handbook and Training Guide

Instructional assistants in special education classrooms fulfill a vital need to successfully support students with special needs. The problem with utilizing instructional assistants in the school setting is the lack of training and resources provided to instructional assistants. Instructional assistants do not currently possess the necessary understanding of core educational concepts and are therefore unable to provide the best practices when supporting students. Based on the common themes presented in the literature review and relevant teaching experiences from a Learning Center Model classroom, a resource handbook was developed as an effective option to alleviate the above-mentioned problem. The focus of the project contains a comprehensive handbook guide for instructional assistants to draw from and apply in their everyday assignments. Ultimately, the project was designed to be a guide to develop focused professional development trainings for instructional assistants led by the special education teacher. With regards to the greater education field, this handbook directly provides special education classrooms with best practices of instructional and behavioral strategies to be implemented in special and general education environments.