ACE Reading

Media for Self Modeling

Video, as presented above in Gino’s example, is the most widely used medium for self modeling interventions. As indicated by the popularity of TV in everyday life, video is a powerful tool because it can combine the images, sounds, and contexts of behavior so effectively. Video editing, sufficient for self modeling, is reasonably easy to learn. But it takes effort and time; sometimes just the thought of editing discourages school personnel from taking advantage of this powerful medium.

Although the term “self modeling” originated in video, it really belongs to a much broader class of interventions (Dowrick, 1999). The self- observation of personal success can be represented in print, (still) pictures, audio, the student’s imagination, and in combinations of these formats. We present below some examples of media for school age children that can be effective for self modeling, depending on individual students’ characteristics and needs.

Print. For example, Mr. Lee, a third grade teacher, uses self-in-print effectively to teach his students to get home safely from school. He has engaging story books that illustrate such skills as crossing the street, knowing where to find a door key, and calling 911 in case of an emergency. These books have __________ in place of the character’s names, where the children can write in their own or family members’ names. Studies show that the personalized, adaptive texts improve children's comprehension 90%, and this technique is equally effective with older children learning to reduce aggression and violence (Embry, 1995).

Pictures. As a medium for self modeling, selected photos--called “picture prompts” (Steel & Lutzker, 1997)— can serve well. Mrs. Doi took a photograph of Tom, who often skipped words while reading, as he was pointing his finger on a word in the book with a big grin on his face. She discussed the picture with Tom, “Look! You point at the words on the book as you read, so you won’t miss any words. Good job! Look at your big smile, too. It seems you can enjoy reading very much!” Then she laminated the photo and mounted it on Tom’s desk to remind him of pointing and enjoying his reading. A number of articles offer guidelines for using personal photographs as an inexpensive but effective way to promote positive self-images of students and learning desired behaviors in various settings, including recent a lead article in this magazine (Lazarus, 1998).

Audio. Mr. Green used audiotaping to help June, a second grader who had difficulties reading fluently, to read her favorite story book. He asked June to read after he did, phrase by phrase. To minimize the editing, Mr. Green pressed the pause button while he was modeling, then released it while June was reading. The end result was an audio tape of June reading her favorite story fluently on her own. June’s face lit up, indicating she was very pleased to hear her own voice. She listened to it over and over, at her own initiation, 3 - 10 times a day. She was taught to point at the words as she heard them from the audiotape, and also to flip the pages after the last word on the right-hand page. In about one month, she was able to read the story without listening to the audiotape and she could identify more than 80% of the words without the picture book context. The use of audio for self modeling is advantageous because of its affordability and ease of editing compared with video.

Multimedia. Miss Young used a computer multimedia authoring program to create a template of an animated story book, then personalized the story book for each of her students by adding digitized photographs and voices for the student’s choice of the characters in the story, personal drawings, or short video clips, and so on. All students received a paper copy of their own book with their autograph on the title page. The students expressed their sense of authorship and accomplishment for their book and devoted more time and effort on literacy related activities.

The examples described above are a few among many ways to use print, pictures, audio and video tapes, and computerized multimedia segments as media for self modeling. Also, self modeling techniques can be applied in teaching many skills other than reading and in various settings. Examples of effective skill training with self modeling documented in the literature (Dowrick, 1999) include: physical skills (walking, swimming, feeding, dressing); communication skills (job interviews, personal safety, sign language, overcoming selective mutism and stuttering); and social skills (parenting, behavioral self-control, overcoming shyness, thumb-sucking, and anxiety).

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