Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Benjamin Lignugaris/Kraft

Abstract

Preservice special education teachers need to develop essential teaching skills to competently address student academics and behavior in the classroom. TeachLivETM is a sophisticated virtual simulation that has recently emerged in teacher preparation programs to supplement traditional didactic instruction and field experiences. Teacher educators can engineer scenarios in TeachLivETM to cumulatively build in complexity, allowing preservice teachers to incrementally interleave target skills in increasingly difficult situations.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of TeachLivETM on preservice special education teachers’ delivery of error correction, specific praise, and praise around in the virtual environment and in authentic classroom settings. Four preservice special educators who were teaching on provisional licenses in upper elementary language arts classrooms participated in this multiple baseline study across target skills. Participants attended weekly TeachLivETM sessions as a group, where they engaged in three short teaching turns followed by structured feedback. Participants’ proficiency with the target skills was analyzed on three weekly assessments. First, participants’ mastery of current and previous target skills was measured during their third teaching turn of the intervention session (i.e., TeachLivETM training assessment). Next, participants’ proficiency with all skills, including those that had not been targeted yet in intervention, were measured immediately following intervention sessions (i.e., TeachLivETM comprehensive assessment). Finally, teachers submitted a weekly video recording of a lesson in their real classroom (i.e. classroom generalization assessment).

Repeated practice and feedback in TeachLivETM promoted participants’ mastery of essential target skills. Specifically, all participants demonstrated proficiency with error correction, specific praise, and praise around on both the TeachLivETM training assessment and the more complex TeachLivETM comprehensive assessment, with a strong pattern of generalized performance to authentic classroom settings. Participants maintained proficiency with the majority of the target skills in both environments when assessed approximately one month after intervention was discontinued. Implications of the study are discussed, including the power of interleaved practice in TeachLivETM and how generalization and maintenance may be impacted by the degree of alignment between virtual and real teaching scenarios.

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