Managing Stressful Situations and Promoting Teachers' Well-being Through Somatic-Cognitive Experience in a Responsive Computer Simulation


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Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description The paper explores the possibilities of a simulated virtual reality (VR) environment to support novice teachers in developing competencies for coping with stressful situations. The topic is part of dissertation research that focuses on 1) the stress management strategies of novice teachers in a VR training environment; 2) the design and evaluation of pedagogical VR simulations in an adaptive learning platform. The main research question is: What is the possibility of virtual reality in preparing novice teachers to cope with stressful situations? Some fields of study for teacher preparation have limited opportunities to prepare for unexpected situations and social and other classroom-specificities (Butler & Monda-Amaya, 2016). Virtual simulated environments can address the need for practice in preparing novice and experienced teachers and provide different variations of learning environments, instant feedback, metrics (which are not obtainable in a real classroom), and a safe space for preparation (Dieker et al., 2015; Lamb & Etopio, 2020; McGarr, 2020) Social, political, economic and accelerating technological challenges (e.g. distance education in times of pandemic or social inclusion of children from Ukraine in Czech schools) brings increased demands on novice teachers. They are a professional group at risk of stress loads leading to leaving the profession or burnout. Through the presented research, we aim to contribute by engaging VR technology to train potential stressful teaching situations. A secondary aim of the research is to explore the potential for practising interactions in VR between the teacher and networks of support actors. These include the teaching assistant, the school psychologist, the social and special educator, the school prevention methodologist or the tandem teacher. VR simulations are used in many different industries. A coherent methodology for implementing this technology in schools still needs to be included in a pedagogical context. Faculties educating teachers would get the opportunity of repeated training in a safe environment and the spectrum of social scenarios (various pedagogical situations) that VR technology offers. As disseminators of knowledge, teachers are vital actors in transferring work with this technology. The opportunity to reinforce (and simultaneously evaluate) novice teachers coping strategies in simulations might promote well-being and resilience (Ungar & Theron, 2020). In the presented research, we understand VR as the illusion of being present in a digitally generated learning environment where we can act realistically and experience different situations (Radianti, et al. 2020). We do not understand the VR experience as a substitute for the real classroom but rather as an experience that can be integrated into the curriculum to support future teachers' development concerning developing different pedagogical strategies. It can also provide new practice opportunities. VR simulations will provide a large amount of multidisciplinary data and metrics that will enhance humanities-oriented research, particularly on the negotiation strategies of educators and other educational support actors. Furthermore, the research aims at a methodological concept of VR education, which needs to be noticed for the widespread dissemination of an attractive form of education through VR technology in schools (still significantly underrepresented in the Czech Republic). The design of scenarios in education will promote social-emotional learning. The critical approaches to embracing VR in education are experimentalism, constructivism, somatic epistemology and cognitivism. The research pursues contemporary challenges, both methodological and technological (what and how features to incorporate into immersive VR to implement to make the simulation believable; e.g., eye contact of avatars using eye visualization - Eyetracking), as well as domain-oriented (what types of scenarios to create)

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