Para is a common word in our society. You’ll hear it in words like parachute, paratrooper and paranoid. Depending on where you live you may also here it with disabled people as they are often transported by a Para bus. Do you know what Para means? There are different translations used by different countries but I really like how the Greek define the word. It basically means to “come along side”. I think this can be an important concept when we deal with students that have a disability. Rather than thinking that you have to make special considerations for a disabled person, think of it more like you are coming along side to help that disabled person. So Para education would mean that you come along side your learner to help them achieve the predefined objective.
You can take this one more step – shouldn’t Para education be applied to all our students? Professional and caring teachers/facilitators want to see ALL their students succeed. This often means coming along side to help them. This also means coming along side at different times. For example, I had a brilliant student who excelled in all her assignments UNTIL we started creating 3D animations. At that point, she required someone to come along side and help her with her education.
As you prepare to enter into the classroom, identify in your mind what your role should be under the umbrella of Para Education.
(you can follow Phil on Twitter @CanadianPacMan)