The Use of Video Self-Monitoring Embedded with Mentorship as a Medium to Enhance Experiential Learning Opportunities and Promote Critical Thinking Skills for Educators and Health Science Professionals Working with Children with Autism
Increased prevalence of Autism has generated higher enrollment in educational settings.┬á Teachers must incorporate specialized teaching strategies to address the unique educational and behavioral challenges facing children diagnosed with autism. This is accomplished by providing teachers with educational opportunities that promote such learning. In the academic world, experiential learning opportunities are used to provide a bridge between didactic coursework and on-the-job practice that fosters skill acquisition and critical thinking. Video self-monitoring (VSM) is one type of learning strategy used in experiential learning environments to develop learnerΓÇÖs critical thinking by building on direct experiences, performance feedback (PF), and reflection (R). This study investigates the impact an experiential teacher training framework, consisting of VSM, PF, and R with and without mentoring has on sustained and generalized teacher performance on two dependent variables ΓÇô Learn Unit (LU); Rate of Effective Instruction (ROI). In this exploratory study 6 female teachers instructing 3-5 year-old autistic children participated in the study. Teacher performance on LU and ROI was evaluated after: Phase 1 ΓÇô 2-hour workshop; Phase 2 ΓÇô training: using the VSM. PF, R with and without mentoring; Phase 3 ΓÇô follow-up: VSM. PF, R and mentoring are removed. Findings revealed that while VSM, PF, R appeared to enhance teacher performance and sustainability of procedural integrity, the greatest and most consistent improvement was observed among teachers who received mentoring as opposed those who did not. Practical applications of this experiential learning teacher/educator training framework for the advanced education of teachers and health science professionals working with this population are highlighted.
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