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Using Virtual Role-Play to Enhance Teacher Candidates’ Skills in Responding to Bullying
article

, , , , Pennsylvania State University, United States

Journal of Technology and Teacher Education Volume 25, Number 1, ISSN 1059-7069 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA

Abstract

Nearly one in three students in the United States today is negatively impacted by bullying. Teachers can play a critical role in stopping bullying-related violence, but many struggle with how to engage students in difficult conversations. Traditional classroom-based pedagogy used to teach communication skills (e.g., modeling & role-play) are inefficient and limited in scope. Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence have resulted in the development of virtual pedagogical agents designed to simulate authentic conversations and can be leveraged to teach vital communication skills. This exploratory study examines the effectiveness of a “virtual role-play” (VRP) tool developed to help teacher candidates effectively respond to classroom bullying by providing them with opportunities to engage in repeated, authentic practice conversations. We hypothesized that practice in simulated conversations provided by VRP would improve teacher candidates’ communication skills and increase their confidence in responding to classroom bullying. Our findings revealed that the repeated practice afforded by VRP improved candidates’ fluency in a way that traditional role-play did not, especially given the time and logistical constraints for conducting regular role-play. Supplementing or replacing traditional role-play, VRP embody a developmental approach to building communication skills as candidates engage in the same scenario multiple times to improve their performance.

Citation

Schussler, D., Frank, J., Lee, T.K. & Mahfouz, J. (2017). Using Virtual Role-Play to Enhance Teacher Candidates’ Skills in Responding to Bullying. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 25(1), 91-120. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved May 26, 2019 from .

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