Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Mark D. Weist

Abstract

School discipline policies that rely on exclusionary discipline practices, such as office discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions, negatively and disproportionately impact racial minority students, beginning in preschool. Disproportionate discipline persists even when schools implement schoolwide interventions that reduce overall rates of exclusionary discipline, suggesting that schools must do more to address other likely causes of the discipline gap, including implicit racial bias, insufficient teacher training in classroom management, and a cultural mismatch between schools and minority students. There has been an increased call for teacher professional development in culturally responsive behavior management practices, but such interventions are often poorly evaluated and resource-intensive. The current study had three aims: 1) to characterize the preliminary impacts a brief, online teacher professional development training in culturally responsive practices (CRP) on self-efficacy for culturally responsive classroom management (CRCM), expected positive outcomes from CRP, and self-reported implementation of CRP; 2) to determine the social validity and feasibility of the training; and 3) to inform wider dissemination of the training and implementation of CRCM by determining areas for improvement and additional training and support needs. The study utilized a mixed-methods, pre/post non-experimental design using a volunteer sample of 3K-3rd grade educators in South Carolina (N = 74). Results indicated that the online CRP training significantly increased participants’ self-efficacy for CRCM practices, expected positive outcomes from using CRP, and overall level of self-reported implementation of CRP in the classroom. Mixed-method assessment of intervention feasibility and social validity suggested that the online CRP training was acceptable, practical, perceived as efficacious, and demonstrated adequate demand, particularly when teachers were given the option to complete the training during school hours. Findings highlighted broad support for CRP training and provided insight into areas for improvement and implementation support needs that can inform wider dissemination. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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