Examining the Effectiveness and Usability of Teleconsultation for Decreasing Disruptive Classroom Behaviors

Date

2019-08

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Abstract

Background: School psychologists often utilize consultation to serve students with behavioral needs. Behavioral consultation has the most empirical support and is the most commonly used model of consultation. However, there are challenges in delivering consultation primarily due to the traditional in-person approach to service delivery. Other health fields utilize teleconsultation, consultation through videoconferencing, and this may be a promising medium for delivering school-based consultation. Researchers have shown that teleconsultation is acceptable to teachers and leads to positive behavioral outcomes when addressing behavioral problems of individual students. Purpose: The current project was conducted to examine the effectiveness of teleconsultation for classwide problems and teachers’ perception of the usability of teleconsultation. First, an experiment was conducted to examine the effectiveness of teleconsultation in decreasing classwide problem behaviors as well as teachers’ acceptability of the intervention. The second experiment was conducted to examine usability characteristics of school-based teleconsultation and determine whether teachers find teleconsultation to be usable. Differences in ratings across two types of behavioral consultation, individualized and classwide, were examined. Methods: The first study utilized a multiple baseline design across settings. Teachers participated in an intervention to decrease classwide disruptive behaviors.The intervention consisted of two teleconsultation sessions and the implementation of the Good Behavior Game (GBG), an evidence-based intervention. Second, a survey was conducted with a sample of teachers and pre-service teachers to examine the usability of individualized and classwide teleconsultation and in-person (IP) consultation for behavior problems. Two surveys were distributed, which allowed for the comparison of the usability of four conditions: individualized teleconsultation, individualized IP consultation, classwide teleconsultation, and classwide IP consultation. Results: Overall, classwide consultation (N=3 classrooms) through videoconferencing was found to be effective at decreasing disruptive behaviors across most baselines. Like past studies, teachers’ ratings of teleconsultation acceptability increased following the intervention. In the second experiment, a sample of teachers (N=116) rated teleconsultation within the usable range (M=4.21) for individualized and classwide consultation. However, ratings of in-person consultation usability, M=4.56, were found to be significantly higher F(1,58) = 20.82, p < .001. Conclusion: These findings support previous studies which have demonstrated the effectiveness of teleconsultation for the delivery of psychological services. Additionally, the findings are promising regarding the acceptability and usability of teleconsultation delivered to teachers. The results of the project indicate that teleconsultation can be a viable alternative to in-person consultation provided that teachers are exposed to the approach. School staff in rural or underserved school districts could particularly benefit from using teleconsultation. Overall, the current project will inform the practice of school psychologists and guide future research around school-based teleconsultation.

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Keywords

School consultation, Teleconsultation, Good behavior game, Behavioral consultation

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