A Simulation Exercise in Decision-Making in an Elementary Classroom
Type of DegreeDissertation
Leadership and Technology
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The purpose of this study was to refine and validate the use of a Simulation Exercise in Classroom Decision Making (SID2). SID2 simulated the limited amount of time within elementary classrooms to make informed decisions concerning classroom management, presentation of content, assessment of students, preparation for instruction and maintenance of a positive learning environment. Written descriptions of typical classroom scenes were projected onto a classroom-viewing screen. Participants were presented alternative teaching responses audibly, for each classroom scene, one response at a time. Participants were given five seconds to indicate whether each course of action was appropriate or inappropriate. The specifications for the revised version, SID3, were developed using a group of indicators of effective teaching specified by the Alabama Professional Education Personnel Evaluation (PEPE). A panel of experts including principals, vice-principals, teachers, administrators and college faculty approved each situation. This study was conducted to answer three major research questions which attempted to verify whether teachers learn research findings about effective teaching from their educational courses and from their classroom experiences and whether this knowledge is reflected in their performance on the SID3. It was hypothesized that: 1) scores of subjects with professional educational training would differ from those subjects without such educational training, 2) scores of subjects with classroom teaching experience (teachers and student teachers) would differ from those of subjects without classroom teaching experience and 3) scores of experienced teachers would differ from scores of student teachers. In answer to the first question, those students having received instruction about teaching were able to identify responses that reflected knowledge of pedagogy acquired in educational training as they outperformed non-education students in each competency. Secondly, participants with teaching experience outscored those without teaching experience on all six domains. Demonstrating classroom teaching experience contributed to the ability to apply the findings of effective teaching research to results by performance on the exercise. Finally, the overall performance of experienced teachers and student teachers did not show a significant difference in the current study. All three findings were consistent with Shannon's initial study (1990). It was recommended that this test continue to be refined and administered to other participants that fit into one of the four groups. Further, scores from SID3 could be correlated with GRE, student portfolios, future classroom observations, student teacher evaluations and PEPE. This test could be used to identify strengths and weaknesses of practicing teachers, allowing inservice and other professional development opportunities to provide remedial services. If this exercise can be used to predict future teaching performance, teacher education programs and local school districts could administer it as a preliminary screening device.