Exploring elementary special educators' self-efficacy related to behavior data collection for behavior reduction before and after peer coaching : a multiple case study.
This study addresses the problem surrounding low educator self-efficacy for data collection and behavior reduction strategies among elementary special educators. Educators working with students who present behavior challenges do not feel a strong sense of self-efficacy when it comes to data collection and behavior management. Due to this, educators are considering altering student placement for more restrictive settings. One opportunity for specialized professional development that offers one-to-one learning opportunities related to data collection and behavior reduction strategies is peer coaching. In this study, I utilized a multiple case study approach to investigate educator experiences with a peer coaching program for data collection and behavior reduction strategies. The purpose of this study was to explore how elementary special educators describe their self-efficacy related to behavior data collection for behavior reduction before and after coaching and to explore their related experiences with peer coaching. I held coaching appointments with four educators who taught students with disabilities who exhibit challenging behaviors. I used questionnaires, interviews, field notes, and a written reflection from each participant to investigate participants’ experiences with peer coaching. There were five findings in this study. First, participants highlighted the importance of individualized feedback for personalized growth. Second, the participants described the benefits of collegiality and accountability through the peer coaching program. Third, participants discussed having feelings of apprehension prior to participating in the study. Fourth, participants discussed the benefits of this program utilizing their learning preferences. Lastly, two participants mentioned imposter syndrome, and discussed how participation in this study aided with eliminating those feelings. This study has implications for special educators and special education coaches or administrators. This study revealed the impact of peer coaching on special educators struggling with feelings of low self-efficacy by providing a collaborative partnership with a peer to discuss practices and improve data collection and behavior reduction strategies. Rather than providing large-scale professional development on broad topics, districts should consider providing peer coaching opportunities with special educators who previously reported having low self-efficacy in data collection and behavior reduction strategies so that they receive individualized education on content that is relevant to their classrooms.