Improving Preservice Teacher Vocabulary Instruction: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Published: 
Nov. 01, 2018

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume: 41 issue: 4, page(s): 340-356

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Introduction
In the present study, the authors evaluated the impact of Content Acquisition Podcasts for students (CAP-S) production on preservice teachers (PSTs’) knowledge of vocabulary practices, and ability to apply that knowledge and skill when teaching a model lesson. 
The current study advanced this line of research by including a comparison PST group that completed a different practice condition.
Both groups received the same training via a series of three Content Acquisition Podcasts for Teachers CAP-T on practices for vocabulary instruction.
The groups then completed one of two practice activities intended to draw a distinction between two approaches to hands-on manipulation of evidence-based practices for teaching vocabulary

Research questions

Three key research questions guided this study’s research activities:
1: To what extent does the CAP-S production process help PSTs improve their knowledge of effective practices for vocabulary instruction when compared with a non-multimedia activity as measured by a pretest and posttest?
2: To what extent does the CAP-S production process improve PSTs implementation of effective practices for vocabulary instruction when compared with a non-multimedia activity as measured by a recorded video lesson?
3: What are PSTs’ views of the CAP-S production process?

Method
The researchers used a two-group pretest–posttest design to answer the research questions.
All groups received the same preliminary training, but Group 1 created a CAP-S, and Group 2 completed a non-multimedia application activity during their practice condition. Outcome measures consisted of a pretest, posttest, video rubric, as well as a supplemental measure to examine social validity. Treatment fidelity procedures were in place to ensure accuracy in scoring.
Participants (N = 121) in this study were enrolled in introductory special education courses at two universities.
This study was a randomized block design with two different blocks, with the blocks being the different classes.
During the first week of the experiment, all participants took a pretest to determine their initial level of vocabulary knowledge. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two practice conditions within each class.
The CAP-S production group and the non-multimedia group began by watching the same three vocabulary training CAP-T (CAPs for teachers) to ensure consistency of instruction on vocabulary instruction.
Following the initial instruction on vocabulary instruction, the CAP-S production group undertook several in-class activities, culminating with the production of a CAP-S. As a comparison with the CAP-S creation group, participants in the non-multimedia group were given a worksheet to apply their knowledge of how to teach vocabulary.
All participants were asked to record a video of themselves using the newly learned vocabulary practices at home during the next week.
The following week, all participants took the vocabulary posttest, which included the social validity survey to assess PST feelings about CAP-S creation and use.
To answer Research Question 2 and explore differences in teaching between participants from each condition, videos were scored using a researcher-created rubric.
Social validity measure.
To answer Research Question 3, a social validity measure was only used for the CAP-S production group to examine PST feelings about the creation and use of CAPS.

Results and Discussion
The first research question examined PST knowledge based on results from a pretest and posttest.
Both groups demonstrated strong growth on the posttest measure indicating that both experiences caused an increase in PST knowledge of effective practices for vocabulary instruction.
The authors note that this result is not surprising, as both groups learned about evidence-based vocabulary instruction using the same three CAP-T, which is known as an evidence-based practice for building this type of knowledge for PSTs. In the authors’ current study, both groups of students were able to practice their skills in a real-world manner.
One group created a multimedia product while the other group completed a written plan.
The reported results indicate that use of training CAP-T paired with a practice experience result in gains in knowledge of evidence-based practices for vocabulary instruction. Both the creation of a CAP-S and the completion of a paper–pencil practice activity led to similar gains in learning.
The second research question examined preservice application based on results from a recorded video.
The CAP-S production group included significantly more specific vocabulary practices in their videos when compared with the nonmultimedia group. In this case the authors found that the CAP-S production group was able to teach a sample lesson that included more vocabulary components than the nonmultimedia group.
To create their CAP-S, PSTs had to plan instruction that included a number of different vocabulary components.
They note that it is possible that this practice condition led to better lessons because this activity is similar to planning a lesson.
In the social validity survey the authors report that overall, some of the strongest areas of agreement on the satisfaction measure were that PSTs understood the purpose of CAP-S, that they felt technology was an important tool to use in the classroom, that they learned about new practices for teaching vocabulary, and that they made a CAP-S that contained appropriate vocabulary practices for teaching their word.
One purpose of this study was to increase PST knowledge of components of effective vocabulary instruction and the social validity results demonstrate that PSTs reported learning about practices for teaching vocabulary. The authors point out that the results also showed that PSTs were really able to understand the purpose of CAP-S and learn evidence-based practices for vocabulary instruction from their participation in this study.
In addition, they note that PSTs felt that they understood the purpose of CAP-S, they would use CAP-S in the future, they would share CAP-S with future colleagues, CAP-S have many applications in teaching, and CAP-S will be useful for teaching students with disabilities.
The authors claim that these results demonstrate that PSTs see the benefit of utilizing CAP-S in their future careers. Another purpose of this study was to introduce this technology to PSTs and the reported results demonstrate this was successful.

Updated: Jul. 29, 2019
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