Effective Teacher Training in Precision Teaching

By Shauna Diffley, 2022 awardee of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant

Shauna is a first year Ph.D. student in Applied Behaviour Analysis in The National University of Ireland, Galway. She is conducting her research under the supervision of Dr. Aoife McTiernan, Dr. Rick Kubina and Dr. Chris Noone. Her research will work towards the development of effective teacher training in Precision Teaching (PT) in order to target learning loss experienced by educationally disadvantaged children in Ireland. Children from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds have experienced up to 60% larger learning losses than their peers as a result to the COVID-19 pandemic (Engzell et al., 2021) due to lack of resources including books, digital devices, and parental assistance (Darmody et al., 2020).

Training teachers in educationally disadvantaged schools to employ evidence-based practices such as PT may provide them with a means to accelerate learning within the context of a highly reinforcing and engaging learning environment. This research fits within the context of ensuring that every child’s right to an effective education is honoured and it promotes diversity, equality and inclusion within the education system.

This research also aims advance scientific knowledge in PT and behaviour analysis, with an aim of making it more readily accessible outside in public schools. To date, researchers and psychologists primarily act as the intervention agents within the PT literature (McTiernan et al., 2021) thus this project aim to address this gap and move towards effectiveness as well as efficacy trials. Teacher training in PT will be developed and evaluated with respect to both student and teacher outcomes. Key concepts such as treatment fidelity and social validity will be explored in order to determine achievable implementation standards and the acceptability of the training.

Overall, it can be said that Shauna’s passion to help others, specifically children from disadvantaged backgrounds, to achieve their full potential and promote diversity, equality and inclusion within the education system is the driving factor behind this research.