Understanding the experiences of postsecondary faculty and students with precision teaching : a phenomenological approach
Lorbeer, Scott Henry
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Precision Teaching, a learning monitoring system, has been used with learners of all ages to develop speed and accuracy, or fluency, in academic tasks. Researchers link fluency with retention, endurance and application. While several studies document the successful use of Precision Teaching in postsecondary classrooms, few report qualitative data. This study used a qualitative, phenomenological approach to examine the experiences of postsecondary faculty and their students with Precision Teaching. Interviews were conducted with 8 faculty members and 17 students. The faculty members had used Precision Teaching as part of their instructional strategy at a variety of postsecondary institutions throughout the United States. They taught courses to graduate students, undergraduates, and those seeking conditional college admission. Subject matter of courses included Precision Teaching itself, psychology, pre-calculus, and remedial reading, grammar, and writing. A series of open-ended questions guided the interviews, which were designed to encourage the participants to reflect on their experiences with Precision Teaching.Findings consisted of 6 faculty themes and 5 student themes. Although first impressions of many students were tentative or negative, faculty viewed the development of fluency as valuable for their students, and students' comprehension of course material and contribution to class discussions increased. As students gained experience, their outlook toward Precision Teaching improved, with many students reporting positive academic outcomes and positive affects. Students often struggled with the expectation of daily practice that often accompanies Precision Teaching, yet they valued the retention of material long after the course was over, in contrast to their experience of forgetting material from many classes. Several students reported adopting Precision Teaching as an individual study method for subsequent course work that contributed to their successful completion of courses and educational programs. Recommendations elaborate on the need to use Precision Teaching intelligently and responsibly.