Smith, K. & Klumper, D. (2018). Virtual reality platforms can give preservice teachers opportunities to develop real classroom management skills. Educational Leadership, 76(1), 60–65.
This article takes a look at the challenges of preservice teachers in the area of classroom management. It discusses the lack of experience and hands-on practice they obtain prior to stepping foot in the classroom for their student teaching assignment. The authors explore the use of virtual reality platforms to offer opportunities for preservice teachers to practice classroom management and experience various scenarios.
Dakota State University in South Dakota has implemented the Virtual Avatar Learning Experience (VALE) to enable their preservice teachers experience a classroom environment prior to the real-world event. Preservice teachers create and deliver lessons, interact with students, and put to use learned skills to create a learning environment virtually. Lessons incorporate a variety of subjects and pedagogy. After the sessions, preservice teachers meet with faculty to reflect and assess their performance, discuss what was successful and what they need to improve on.
I’ve taught preservice teachers for a few years and I believe this program would be extremely beneficial for them. Remembering my own preservice days many years back, I would have appreciated this form of practice prior to being in the actual classroom. As a researcher, I am interested in future studies of how the preservice teacher’s perspective of VE was enhanced through this personal experience.