Training Teachers to Identify and Refer At-Risk Students Through Computer Simulation
Suicide is a major public health issue and is the second leading cause of death among adolescents. Teachers are in an ideal position to screen and refer at-risk students, but most teachers have not received adequate training in this area. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a computer simulation on training teachers in effective identification and referral practices for middle school students at-risk for bullying and suicidal ideation. Students in a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program in New York State completed At-Risk for Middle School Educators, a computer simulation created by Kognito Interactive that is intended to effectively train teachers in effective identification and referral practices for middle school students at-risk for bullying and suicidal ideation. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention surveys and participated in an online discussion of the simulation training. Results of a paired-samples t test indicated that At-Risk for Middle School Educators significantly improved the likelihood that teachers will recommend a student in distress for psychological services. It also significantly improved teacher confidence and competence in approaching and referring at-risk students to mental health services. Although the sample size was small and further research is warranted, results suggest that At-Risk for Middle School Educators is an effective training tool for educators in the area of the identification and referral of at-risk students.
KeywordsEducational technology Computer simulations Teacher training Suicide prevention At-risk youth
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This study was reviewed by the Empire State College IRB and deemed to be exempt from human subjects approval.
- Adrian, M., Miller, A. B., McCauley, E., & Stoep, A. V. (2016). Suicidal ideation in early to middle adolescence: Sex-specific trajectories and predictors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(5), 645–653 Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837032/. Accessed 15 April 2019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Albright, G., Eastgard, S., Goldman, R., & Shockley, K. (2011). At-risk for high school educators: On-line interactive gatekeeper training simulation for identification and referral of students exhibiting signs of psychological distress. Retrieved from http://resources.kognito.com/ht/kognito_quasi_study_highschool_2011.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Albright, G., Goldman, R., Shockley, K., & Spiegler, J. (2013). Using virtual role-play with avatars to build gatekeeper skills among high school educators. Retrieved from http://resources.kognito.com/ht/kognito_study_highschool_version.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Albright, G., Goldman, R., Shockley, K., & Spiegler, J. (2018). At-risk for middle school educators: A longitudinal study with 12, 535 Educators in 34 States Retrieved from http://go.kognito.com/rs/143-HCJ-270/images/PK-12_MiddleSchool_ResearchStudy.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Beran, T. (2005). A new perspective on managing school bullying: Pre-service teachers' attitudes [special issue]. Journal of Social Sciences, 8, 43–49.Google Scholar
- Beran, T. (2006). Preparing teachers to manage school bullying: The hidden curriculum. Journal of Educational Thought, 40(2), 119–128.Google Scholar
- Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Center for Disease Control (2014). The relationship between bullying and suicide: What we know and what it means for schools. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying-suicide-translation-final-a.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Center for Disease Control (2018). Suicide rates rising across the U.S. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/vs-0618-suicide-H.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Hase, C. N., Goldberg, S. B., Smith, D., Stuck, A., & Campain, J. (2015). Impacts of traditional bullying and cyberbullying on the mental health of middle and high school students. Psychology in the Schools, 52(6), 607–617 https://doi-org.alumnilibrary.esc.edu/10.1002/pits.21841. Accessed 15 April 2019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kognito Interactive (2012). At-risk for middle school educators. Retrieved from http://resources.kognito.com/ms/At-Risk_onepager_ms_FINAL.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Kraiger, K., & Jung, K. M. (1997). Linking training objectives to evaluation criteria. In M. A. Quinones & A. Ehrenstein (Eds.), Training for a rapidly changing workplace. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health (2012). 2011 health and risk behaviors of Massachusetts youth. Retrieved from http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/hprograms/yrbs/2011Report.pdf. Assessed 15 April 2019.
- Matsuda, T. (2005). Instructional activities game: A tool for teacher training and research into teaching. Gaming, simulations, and society, 91–100.Google Scholar
- National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and objectives for action. (2012). Retrieved from: https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/national-strategy-suicide-prevention/full_report-rev.pdf
- Office of Postsecondary Education. (2005). Lessons learned from FIPSE projects I - October 1990: Teacher training through computer simulation. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/fipse/lessons1/virginia.html. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Orpinas, P., & Horne, A. M. (2006). Bullying prevention: Creating a positive school climate and developing social competence. American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Salle, T. P., Wang, C., Parris, L., & Brown, J. A. (2017). Associations between school climate, suicidal thoughts, and behaviors and ethnicity among middle and high school students. Psychology in the Schools, 54(10), 1294–1301 Retrieved from: https://doi-org.alumnilibrary.esc.edu/10.1002/pits.22078. Accessed 15 April 2019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Salle, T. L., George, H. P., McCoach, D. B., Polk, T., & Evanovich, L. L. (2018). An examination of school climate, victimization, and mental health problems among middle and high school students self-identifying with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 43(3), 383–392 https://doi-org.alumnilibrary.esc.edu/10.1177/0198742918768045. Accessed 15 April 2019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (2014). Positive behavioral interventions & supports: Primary Level. Retrieved from http://www.pbis.org/school/primary-level. Accessed 15 April 2019.
- Underwood, M., Springer, J., & Scott, M. (2011). Lifelines intervention. Hazelden Publishing.Google Scholar
- US. Department of Health & Human Services. (2014). Stop bullying. Retrieved from http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/index.html. Accessed 15 April 2019.