COIL is proud to have supported the Using Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate Student Mastery of Effective Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Resolution Strategies project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.
Nearly one in three students in the United States today is negatively impacted by bullying. Teachers can play a critical role in stopping bullying-related violence. However, a majority of teachers report they are reluctant to become involved in peer conflicts for fear of “making the situation worse.” They struggle with how to engage students in “difficult” conversations. Traditional classroom-based pedagogy used to teach these skills (e.g., modeling & role-play) is inefficient, frequently ineffective, and inaccessible for pre-service teachers in distance education.
Teachers are expected to develop these interpersonal skills on the job, and many never do. Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) have resulted in the development of animated pedagogical agents designed to simulate intelligent, authentic conversations. The purpose of this project is to help pre-service teachers to effectively respond to classroom bullying by providingthem with opportunities to engage in practice conversations with pedagogical agents simulating a bully, bully-victim, and parent.
We hypothesize that practice in simulated conversations will increase pre-service teacher self-efficacy and skill in responding to classroom bullying. If effective, this technology could be expanded to accommodate a variety of simulations appropriate for other professions that might benefit from practice in having difficult conversations with youth.
Jennifer L. Frank
Biobehavioral Health Building
University Park, PA 16802