“Is That Me?”: Video Feedback

Some problem children, especially those who are hyperactive, do not know how they appear to other people. They think their teacher is picking on them or other kids don’t like them, for no reason. They are unable to see how their actions contribute to their problems. Video feedback gives children a mirror, a chance to see what they do and hear what they say.

There are two styles of video feedback: (a) videoing children the way they are; (b) videoing children the way they want to be. The first type takes children through five steps: (a) watching a video of themselves behaving the way they normally do; (b) picking out their problem behaviors; (c) thinking about how they can change these behaviors; (d) practising their solutions; and (e) seeing an after-version of their improved behavior.

The second method teaches children ahead of time appropriate behaviors, and produces one video of their most-perfect behavior. This video is an edited version of children only doing and saying the right things. Special effects can also be added to make the tape even more rewarding, such as verbal praise, photographs, clips from TV shows, and typed words. Watching themselves behave the right way is a strong motivating force in helping children change their behavior, as well as a big self-confidence booster.

At first glance this technique seems beyond a classroom setting. One method of making it more amenable is to turn it into a class project. Most children are intrigued by electronic devices like videos, and would enjoy being filmed, or learning how to make their own video. After you make the first self-model tape, you can let interested students use their imaginations in making their own videos.

If you are interested in learning more about video feedback read The ABC’s of Video-Therapy, by Michael Greelis and Betsy Haarman (1980).