Date of Award

6-2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Denise Ross

Second Advisor

Dr. Ron VanHouten

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Damashek

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ronnie Detrich

Abstract

The observer effect is a term used to describe a process during which an observer's behavior changes as they measure the behavior of another individual. The observer effect has been widely studied in organizational behavior management but has limited research with teachers in schools. The current study sought to use the observer effect as part of a teacher training package by evaluating the effects of peer observations on an observing teacher's implementation integrity of components of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system. Participants were four middle school teachers of students in general education classrooms. The primary dependent variables were the number of praise and corrective statements made by the teachers to their students, and how closely the teacher approximated a ratio of three praise statements to every one corrective statement. Secondary dependent variables included the number of behavioral expectations set by the teacher for the students, and the number of office referrals written by the teacher. During baseline, teachers were asked to teach as usual while being observed three to four times per week. During the intervention, teachers completed weekly observations of their peers and recorded the number of praise and corrective statements as well as the number and type of behavioral expectations set by their peer teacher. Following the intervention, in a return to baseline, teachers did not conduct peer observations but taught in their usual manner while the experimenter conducted weekly observations. Results suggest that peer observations increased intervention integrity of target classroom management behaviors for three of four participants. That is, three of the four participants increased their ratio of praise to corrective statements and expectation setting during the peer observation phase of the study. Additionally, based on social validity data, participants were highly satisfied with the observation process. Implications of these findings for teacher training in schools are discussed as well as how the findings of this study relate to existing research on the observer effect.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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