Ann R. Flynn, Ph.D. is a 2020 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Dr. Ann R. Flynn at her Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Dr. Lize Booysen, Committee Chair, Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Member, Dr. Susan Dryer, Committee Member
- Lize Booysen, DBL, Committee Chair
- Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Susan Dryer, Ed.D., Committee Member
Paraeducator, paraprofessional, agency, leadership without authority, critical pedagogy, instructional leadership, ethics and democracy
Paraeducators play an important role in the classroom supporting students and certificated teachers. However, literature on the actual roles of paraeducators has revealed that paraeducators are rarely included in the teaching team (Patterson, 2006). Paraeducators are frequently asked to perform difficult or unpleasant jobs and may not be recognized as important professionals who support the educational system (Giangreco, Suter, & Doyle, 2010; Lucero, 2010). Surveys and interviews have shown that paraeducators view themselves differently from how coworkers view them (Chopra, Sandoval-Lucero, Aragon, Bernal, De Balderas, & Carroll, 2004; Patterson, 2006). The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain a deeper understanding of the positionality and lived experiences of K-5 paraeducators from an urban school district in the Pacific Northwest. This research focused on exploring the positionality, agentic, and systemic influences on paraeducators. Qualitative data were drawn from 12 participants, using demographic checklists, 21 interviews, and the researcher journal. First, a pilot study was conducted with three paraeducators; this flowed seamlessly into the expanded study. A researcher journal documented affective elements of interactive data collection and bracketed the researcher’s potential biases. Data were transcribed and analyzed using thematic coding and constant comparison, viewed through a general lens and a critical theory lens. Key themes, supported by the critical narrative data from the dialogs with paraeducators, are reported. Then, using the lens of critical theory, supported by educational and leadership perspectives, I discuss the potential impact of the conclusions on paraeducators’ positionality and practice in the U.S. K-5 public school system, with the possibility of transformation. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, http://aura.antioch.edu/ and OhioLINK ETD Center, https://etd.ohiolink.edu/etd.
Flynn, A. R. (2020). Positionality of Paraeducators: A Phenomenological Study in a Public School District in the Pacific Northwest. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/615