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Video modelling

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What is it?

Many children of all ages enjoy watching videos of themselves and other people. Just as many people will learn to cook a meal through watching a TV show, or figure out how to put furniture together by watching a YouTube clip, some students find watching people performing different skills a good way to learn that skill. Video modelling involves teaching a student a new skill through watching a short video. A person (adult, a peer or student themselves) is videoed performing an action or skill; these are often social skills like greeting, putting up their hand in class or requesting to join in a game.

Video modelling can be used to teach new behaviours and skills for example, putting up your hand in class or asking for help.

How do I use it?

  1. Identify the target behaviour or skill to be taught e.g. greeting a peer, giving a compliment, requesting an item.
  2. Define and describe the target behaviour e.g. putting up their hand to get the teacher's attention saying 'Hi' when greeted by a peer; asking to join in a game.
    Be specific about these behaviours e.g. ask to join in rather than 'behave properly' or 'play nicely'.
  3. Make sure you have the appropriate equipment and are comfortable using it. Options include iPads and other tablets, video cameras and mobile phones. 
  4. Carefully script the skill that you want the student to learn. Write down how the skill starts, what the student should do and how others in the video model might respond. For example:
    • Three peers are playing handball.
    • The student waits until there is a break in play.
    • The student approaches one of the peers and says 'Hi, can I play?'
    • The peer says 'Ok, you can go in that square' (pointing to the square).
    • The student says 'Ok' and goes to the empty square.
    • All four children play handball.
  5. Identify appropriate models to be in the video. This may be the student himself, with clear directions about the skill to be demonstrated. These directions can be edited out to make the video flow smoothly. The model could also be a peer or group of peers.
  6. Rehearse the script until the models are able to perform the skill to be modelled.
  7. Video the models performing the skill they have rehearsed.
  8. Carefully edit the video to remove adult prompts or unnecessary details.
  9. Watch the video with the student, pointing out the important details, such as:
    • waiting for the break in play
    • the words to use
    • watching where the student points
    • joining in.
  10. Watch the video whenever needed and particularly prior to the time when the new behaviour can be used (e.g. watching a video about asking to play a game immediately before lunchtime).
  11. Provide opportunities for the student to imitate the models and practice the skill.

Age group

Video modelling is used across all age groups. The skill targeted should match the level of the student (that is, developmentally appropriate skills). Older students may enjoy being involved in the video making process.

PreschoolYes
P-2Yes
3-6Yes
High schoolYes

Where can I learn more?

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Last updated 12 February 2021