School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Sandra Battige


One-to-one Paraprofessional, One-to-one Paraeducator, Teacher's Aide, Special Education, Self-contained, Special Education


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences and self-efficacy of one-to-one paraeducators assisting high school students with disabilities in self-contained classrooms. The theory guiding this study is Bandura's social cognitive theory, which describes self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a person's belief in their ability to complete a designated task (Bandura, 1997a). Bandura purports that there are four elements that contribute to one's self-efficacy: performance outcomes, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological and affective state (Bandura, 1997b). In this phenomenological study, eleven one-to-one paraeducators within one school district in western Washington participated in interviews, focus groups, and audio journals to share their perceptions. Participants' responses were coded into patterns then analyzed to discover themes. Throughout this investigation, the central research question is: What are the lived experiences of one-to-one paraeducators supporting high school students with disabilities in self-contained classrooms? While participants expressed an overwhelming sense of stress associated with their position, they also believed that the joy received from working with their student was worth it. This study found that one-to-one paraeducators’ roles are unique and often misunderstood therefore, creating a mental strain from being on the bottom of the totem pole with very little support.