This month, I plan to continue to highlight the EBP of ‘modeling’. This is part 2 of a series so feel free to look back at last months’ article that helps to introduce the strategy as most of the introductory information is in that article. In a nutshell, this is simply intentionally showing a learner what we would like them to know or do. I will be delving into more detail, highlighting more examples and hopefully show you how this EBP can be a tool you can utilize, especially when introducing a brand new skill. As usual, modeling can be used in conjunction with other EBPs that we have highlighted in the past, as one piece of a larger puzzle.
Note: Much of the information in this article is from the related AFIRM online module (link below).
A simple mantra I like to use in many areas of my life, especially when setting a new goal/target behavior is “I do, We do, You do.” This is connected to the EBP of modelling in that the first few times (as needed), the learner can simply actively (or passively) observe someone purposely modelling the goal/new skill/behavior. This greatly helps with any anxiety that the learner may experience when related to gaining a new skill or even heading into a new experience. There is very little pressure or expectation on the learner when just having to basically watch. Other strategies or supports can help to move to the ‘we do’ and then independently ‘You do’ stage. The timeline on this will vary from person to person. One important point in this explanation is that it is key to move forward as soon as you can. Do not stay in the modelling stage. Let the learner move past that and begin to take their own steps in attempting the skill.
For example, when teaching my son to cook, we accessed some visual recipes that are simple and broken down into visual step by step instructions. For the first three times when making the recipe, I had him simply watch me follow the recipe and I tried to talk my thinking through and showed him what each step looked like. Once we both agreed there were parts that he could take on (started with the simple ones (ex: pouring the rice into the water) and then moving to more complex (using a knife)), he slowly started taking over until he was ready to just have me watch while he worked through it all start to finish. There are now certain recipes that I can trust him to fully complete the recipe from start to finish totally independently! I do, we do, you do.
What do you do to technically get started? It is the same for each EBP actually. First, identify the skill or behavior that you wish to have the learner learn or do. Then, try to collect ‘baseline data’, which basically means how well they can do the skill with no support at the beginning of the process. Once you have that, establish a goal that you eventually want to achieve.
For example, if you wanted the learner to call and make an appointment for a haircut, you could write out a short script and then model how to read/use the script and record the appointment date and time in the calendar. Have them try on their own without the support to see the level of ability in the beginning. Once that level is known, make the goal (share with the learner if possible) for them to us the phone number to independently (with the script at first) call the hairdresser and make an appointment successfully.
Then you get to the work of doing each step of the process while they actively watch you doing it. You can do step by step and have them watch that portion closely or do the entire process over and over until the learner is able to take over the portion they are comfortable doing.
Look for part three of the modeling article for even more information on this ‘power tool’ for your proverbial ‘tool kit’ of what is proven to work. I will further delve into the prerequisites for the learner for this to be even more effective.
If you are interested in checking out the free online AFIRM modules, here is the link (will take you to the social narrative module in particular as I am highlighting this here).
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Carmen has been published in a variety of online and print articles. Writing is a passion and she strives to grow and share her message.