Video Modeling in the Classroom

Categories: Behavior

Video Modeling

Video Modeling is one of my favorite strategies to use in the classroom. It’s evidence-based and has been proven to be a successful strategy for early childhood through high school. I use it not only for my students, I use it for my assistants, too. It’s the ultimate visual!

Why it works

Let’s talk about the why. Video modeling reduces social stress for students on the spectrum by not forcing face-to-face interactions. While face-to-face is the ultimate goal, sometimes you need to work up to it. You control the environment and variables. Sometimes we wonder how our students are going to react in a stressful situation. Why not show them a model of how to respond first? As I previously stated, video modeling is the ultimate visual! Students get to process what is happening visually. So many times modeling is done with an abundance of words – actions ALWAYS speak louder!


A few notes before diving into examples. First, this is a great way to get general education students involved in your classroom. Having a peer model is powerful! Just make sure you have parent consent if you are videoing. Secondly, always take your audience into account. Find peers to model who are around the same age and in the same school environment if possible. Normally I’d share videos from my classroom, but the video modeling I have contains students and privacy is important; I think you’ll get the idea without the videos from my classroom. I’d caution you to not replace the physical modeling you are doing with your students. Keep doing that! It’s important! This is just something to add to it. Finally, a warning: Never video a student behaving poorly and show them what not to do. That’s a can of worms. Trust me. Just say no. Stick to modeling the positive.

Social Skills

We know one of the most powerful strategies for teaching social skills is modeling. When targeting a social skill we need to improve, we model the language, body language, and eye contact that go with that skill. We teach children by showing them, not talking. Video modeling is the same, but you are in control of the variables. Pick a skill, write a script, and pick a few people to help you. Just like modeling for students in real time, you are going to model what you want the student to do. You can write the script like a social story, or you can just model – individualize the content just for your students! This video model shows students asking other students to play! I love that the script goes over friends agreeing to play and friends saying ‘no thanks’. This way, we set our students up for success no matter the outcome.

Modeling Speech

Video modeling can go beyond having students learn social skills. You can have peers model appropriate language, greetings and goodbyes, and AAC usage can be modeled in videos, too. Here’s an example of video modeling of student greetings and a student using PECs.

Life Skills

Have a student struggling to wash their hands? What about putting on their coat? Or brushing their teeth? Try video modeling! Here’s an example of a hand-washing video.

Staff Training

Every teacher I know is tight on time. Ask them to train their staff and they almost always “when will I do that?”. I totally get it. Hear me out. This is a fast, quick way to train staff on how to run a center, fluency station, take data, or run an ABA/DTT program. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional! Still think you don’t have time? Try the mini training series from The Autism Helper! Check out the one on eloping behaviors below.

Making Video Models

Have an instagram account? Try this hack and use it for video modeling! Go to your story and click the plus sign (hi, Gina!). Video the modeling you want. Add text. Download and share with your students. No posting necessary! If you want to be more elaborate, try iMovie. Or, if you want some community involvement, ask your tech or media club to help you out and produce some videos for your classroom.

Video modeling can be a powerful tool for teachers. The ability to be able to replay a positive social interaction over and over again for a student is amazing. However you choose to use video modeling in your classroom, your students will thrive with it! Happy videoing!
Jen Koenig, B.S, M.Ed., LBS1
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  1. Jan:

    I had some printing problems with an item I purchased. Who should I address?

  2. Hi Catherine,

    Here is how to fix printing issues! 🙂

    Save: Make sure you save the file before printing. Don’t print from your download folder or from preview. Sometimes files can get corrupted if you open from a download versions. If the PDF files open in preview, if may not work or will be distorted in this format. When you download this and the computer prompts you to open it, do not open it the way it is asking. Right click on the file and select “”OPEN WITH ADOBE”” When you do this the resource will open correctly.
    Adjust Printer Options: This will usually solve any issues. Some printers may automatically select the wrong size when printing and will crop off part of pages or the pages may look unaligned. When printing make sure to select scale to print, shrink oversize pages, or print entire page. The options are worded differently on different printers. This will also solve any issues if your printer tells you that you need legal size paper. All of my products are to be printed on 8.5X11 paper (regular computer paper) not the long size paper (11X13).
    Update Adobe: You may have an outdated version of adobe which may be causing issues.
    Each and every product I sell can (and has!) been printed on both macs and PCs successfully! Following this steps will handle any printer issues! Let me know if this doesn’t help!

    Thanks for reading 🙂


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