Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Vol. 44(2) 160–182
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study was to combine eCoaching with video-based reflection as a comprehensive intervention package to examine its effect on special education teacher candidates’ use of target teacher strategies, the quality of the target teacher strategies, and P-12 focus students’ responses to the teacher strategies.
The authors also aimed to examine participants’ perceptions of the intervention.
The authors’ research questions were as follows:
1: What is the functional relation between eCoaching with video-based reflection and teacher candidates’ use of evidence-based teaching strategies to elicit students’ expressive language?
2: How does eCoaching with video-based reflection affect the quality of teacher candidates’ use of evidence-based teaching strategies to elicit students’ expressive language?
3: How does eCoaching with video-based reflection affect students’ responses to teacher candidates’ use of evidence-based teaching strategies?
4: How do teacher candidates perceive the social validity of the eCoaching with video-based reflection intervention?
Participants and Setting
Participants included three female special education teacher candidates who held temporary teaching licenses or teaching licenses in areas other than special education and were enrolled in a special education teacher licensure program at a university in the southeastern United States.
Participants were recruited from two graduate courses (one early childhood special education course and one K-12 special education course) taught by the first and third authors.
The authors asked each teacher candidate to identify a focus student who was receiving special education services and had difficulties with expressive language.
Focus students were selected to support student needs and to demonstrate how that student responded to the intervention.
The study took place between January and June.
Baseline and intervention eCoaching sessions took place from a distance (i.e., the coach was at a remote location) and during an instructional episode when the candidate was delivering teacher-led instruction and the focus student was present.
All classrooms were in public school settings in a large school district in the southeastern United States.
The eCoaching sessions took place in a variety of teacher-led instructional settings that included one-on-one, small group, or whole group instruction.
To examine the effects of the eCoaching with video-based reflection intervention on participants’ use of a target teaching strategy to improve students’ expressive language (primary dependent variable), the authors used a multiple-probe single-case research design across participants.
Single-case research design is an experimental design in which “the individual participant is the unit of analysis” (Horner et al., 2005, p. 166), and participants’ data across conditions are visually analyzed for patterns to determine the effect of independent variable(s) (Horner et al., 2005).
Experimental control is demonstrated through three demonstrations of an effect at different points in time (Horner et al., 2005).
Results and discussion
In the current study, two special education teacher candidates teaching school age students and one early childhood special education teacher candidate, along with their coaches, identified specific practices to improve.
Participants were provided corrective and affirmative performance-based feedback in real time by a coach using eCoaching technology (Rock et al., 2014), and the participants used video-based reflections to build an awareness of the quality of their own implementation to elicit student expressive language (Kennedy et al., 2015; Nagro et al., 2017).
Although they are typically investigated in isolation, research indicates that providing support and targeted feedback via eCoaching and video-based reflection can support teachers’ transition of knowledge into practice (Pianta et al., 2008).
The current study is a replication and extension of a recent study (Coogle et al., 2019) that combined real-time feedback via eCoaching (i.e., technology-enhanced performance-based feedback) with video analysis to determine the effect on three early childhood special education teachers’ use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) and the quality of the teachers’ implementation of these practices.
The current study was implemented parallel to Coogle et al.’s (2019) study, following the same procedures.
The current study, however, extends the former by including two special education teacher candidates teaching elementary and middle school students with disabilities, who implemented target strategies across delivery models, including whole group, small group, and with individual students in inclusive classrooms; doing so allowed the authors to examine the effects across a combination of settings (i.e., preschool self-contained, elementary co-taught, and middle school co-taught classrooms).
Results of the current study, for two of the three participants, indicated an increase in the frequency and rate of teacher candidates’ use of the target strategy when they received performance-based feedback with video-based reflection.
These findings are consistent with Coogle et al. (2019), providing initial evidence that collectively, performance-based feedback via eCoaching with video-based reflection may have potential to increase teacher candidates’ use of EBPs.
Also, focus student data indicated an increase in the quality of participants’ strategy implementation and students’ responses.
Furthermore, this study demonstrated that eCoaching with video-based reflection was a socially valid practice, consistent with previous research (Coogle et al., 2019).
Despite these positive outcomes, participants’ frequency and rate of target strategy use was variable.
There were contextual factors identified that influenced participants’ progress toward improving practice, particularly for those teaching school-age students
Quality of Target Strategy Implementation
Special education teachers should use EBPs in the classroom with fidelity so that it is delivered as intended (Johnson et al., 2014).
There are multiple dimensions of fidelity, and in this study, the authors examined process fidelity, or the quality of teacher implementation, as a dependent variable (Harn et al., 2013). Participant data indicate the consistency to which candidates were able to perform the distinct skills.
Quality use results for all participants illustrate that when provided performance-based feedback via eCoaching with video-based reflection, teachers performed their target strategy with higher quality.
Implications for Practice
The results of this study highlight important implications for practice.
First, eCoaching and video-based reflection can be used by university-based teacher educators to support special education teacher candidates’ quality use of EBPs.
Second, the quality indicators (QIs) of target strategies can be used systematically to identify a teacher candidate’s strengths and weaknesses when implementing an EBP, allowing university-based teacher educators to make databased decisions about additional phases of intervention.
Coogle, C. G., Nagro, S., Regan, K., O’Brien, K. M., & Ottley, J. R. (2019). The impact of real-time feedback and video analysis on early childhood teachers’ practice. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. Advance online publication.
Harn, B., Parisi, D., & Stoolmiller, M. (2013). Balancing fidelity with flexibility and fit: What do we really know about fidelity of implementation in schools? Exceptional Children, 79(2), 181–193.
Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., McGee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research to identify evidencebased practice in special education. Exceptional Children, 71, 165–179.
Johnson, L. D., Wehby, J. H., Symons, F. J., Moore, T. C., Maggin, D. M., & Sutherland, K. S. (2014). An analysis of preference relative to teacher implementation of intervention. The Journal of Special Education, 48(3), 214–224
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Rock, M. L., Gregg, M., Gable, R., Zigmond, N., Blanks, B., Howard, P., & Bullock, L. (2012). Time after time online: An extended study of virtual coaching during distant clinical practice. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 20, 277–304.