Doctor of Education
Dr. Ric Dressen
A considerable amount of research regarding best practices for successful disciplinary practices and programs that schools utilize to address middle school student behavior exists. Two of the most often cited and recommended practices are the Culturally Responsive practices and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Research on how Culturally Responsive practices and PBIS are used in the virtual middle school environment was scarce. Middle school teachers participated in semi-structured interviews to determine whether or not, how, and to what extent Culturally Responsive practices and PBIS were implemented in the middle school virtual setting. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the virtual learning environments in middle school have affected the planning, instruction, and discipline approaches of teachers trained in Culturally Responsive practices and PBIS. The secondary purpose of this study assessed how practices and procedures have been used in both the in-person and virtual classroom settings. Four unique themes emerged from the data, which included: student choice, social-emotional learning, technology, and virtual meeting spaces. An unexpected theme emerged from the data, which was that technology and the virtual environment enabled deeper personal connection to occur between teachers and students. Findings include recommendations for increased use of technology and student choice, continued use of virtual meeting spaces when returning to in-person instruction, as well as use of digital recordings for instruction and reference.