A Literature Review exploring the use of Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) in schools. Murray, S.

A Literature Review exploring the use of Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) in schools

Sarah Murray

This is a brief literature review examining how Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) has been used to support pupils in schools. This will include an introduction to VIG and how the intervention has been traditionally implemented within family homes. Consideration will be given in relation to the impact of using VIG to enhance pupils’ learning, to benefit pupils with additional needs and to support the relationships between staff and pupils. The main aim of this literature review is to synthesise some of the existing research evidence which suggests why VIG may benefit pupils in schools. The implications for professional practice and research will also be considered.

Keywords; video interaction guidance (VIG), literature review, professionals and special educational needs (SEN).

  • Literature Search Strategy

In order to complete this literature review various combinations of terms were used in order to search for both UK and international papers. An iterative search strategy was used with the application of a snowball method in order to allow flexibility in selecting relevant theoretical and empirical literature. Various search terms were used during the search using the ProQuest Social Sciences database as well as ‘Finditbham’ using UK and international papers. International papers were used in order to explore the origins of VIG. The inclusion criteria for this search include reference to a collection of peer reviewed journals and university dissertations.

2.0 An introduction to Video Interaction Guidance

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) is an intervention which aims to enhance relationships through seeking communication and developing interactions through the use of video feedback (Association for Video Interaction Guidance UK, n.d). VIG can act as a particular tool for analysing behaviour which can lead to positive changes and it aims to enhance the clients’ levels of sensitivity to becoming more attuned to one another. This can occur through an increase in awareness of both verbal and non-verbal methods of communication (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2011).

The intervention has often been delivered in the family home. This usually consists of a VIG practitioner who leads the intervention (who is often referred to as a ‘guider’) working with a particular client group, for example a family or a school teacher (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2011). The family may be experiencing a particular difficulty and often this can be the reason why they may wish to become involved in VIG. Whilst these difficulties are accepted, VIG aims to focus on attuned interactions which are evidenced within the video clips. This is often supported through the development of a ‘helping question’ which is devised with the support of the guider to negotiate the individuals’ goals in a solution focussed way (Forsyth, et al 1996). The guider will often visit the family regularly and film approximately ten minutes of them engaging in a particular activity. The guider will then leave the home and watch the video back before selecting at least three video clips which focus on evidence of attuned interactions. These clips will be shared with the family during a ‘shared review’ whereby the parent will be asked to explore the attuned interactions within the clips.

VIG is an evidenced based intervention which is recommended in the NICE guidelines (Social and Emotional Wellbeing 0-5, 2012; Autism: the management and support of children and young people on the autism spectrum, 2013 and Children’s attachment, 2013, etc.) as well as being cited in the ‘1001 Critical Days parliamentary cross-party manifesto’ (Leadsom, Burstow and Lucas, 2013). VIG has also been explored within various NSPCC projects around cases where children have experienced neglect in order to try to improve relationships (NSPCC, 2015).

3.0 The benefits of Video Interaction Guidance for pupils in school settings

3.1 Using Video Interaction Guidance to support pupils in schools

The development of relationships between staff and pupils in school is essential for the development of pupils’ emotional wellbeing, but also in relation to enhancing their learning opportunities (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2011). VIG enables an adult to work with a child in order to provide scaffolding and greater learning opportunities for their child, whilst developing their professional skills. As VIG is a tool designed to enhance the interactions between an adult and a child, this has been considered a useful intervention in various contexts within schools. For example VIG has been used when an advisory teacher or educational psychologist, acting as the guider, has worked with groups of children and/or classes, who have then reported some element of positive change (Walmsley, 2010). VIG has also been used with advisory teachers, educational psychologists, teachers and teaching assistants (TAs) who are working with children who have special educational needs (SEN). It is most common for a professional directly working with a child, parent(s) and/or other members of school staff, to be involved in facilitating the VIG intervention (Fukkink and Trienekens, 2011). When using VIG to support pupils in school, the method allows the opportunity for the pupils to be involved within the feedback process as the focus is on the attuned interactions, rather than focussing on the presenting difficulties. This approach is likely to increase the pupil’s motivation and engagement to bring about positive change. Some examples of the use of VIG in schools are considered below.

  • Video Interaction Guidance to enhance learning

VIG has also been found to be effective when using video to film pupils working with peers. This has been useful in order to develop their problem solving skills and has increased their self-esteem through observing their work with peers (Mussett, 2014). Through the use of VIG, pupils were filmed whilst working in groups and carrying out problem solving tasks. The children were then able to see themselves on video clips using their problem solving skills. Pre and post measures were used in order to measure pupil’s levels of self-esteem. The findings indicated that pupil’s levels of self-esteem increased particularly for those who were younger but there was no difference in self-esteem by gender. Once the pupils had established and maintained their problem solving skills they were able to reflect on their thinking skills through asking questions, turn taking and building upon existing ideas (Mussett, 2014). This therefore creates further learning experiences for the pupils.

VIG has also been used in order to support peer reading mentors. Pupils who used VIG reflected upon their roles as peer mentors through observing their body language, mentor skills and ability to work collaboratively when watching the video clips (MacCallum, 2013). This increased awareness which was created through the use of VIG, can be useful to provide further learning and development opportunities for the peer mentors. However this was a small case study working with only two peer mentors using VIG over six mentoring sessions so generalisations should be approached with caution (MacCallum, 2013).

  • Using Video Interaction Guidance to support children with additional needs

VIG has also been used as an intervention to support children who have been described as experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). VIG has been used in order to support improvements in the relationship between the child and their parents. The findings from a study where VIG was used to support children experiencing such difficulties suggested that the intervention provided positive results. The parents had an increased positive attitude to managing the children’s behaviour (Savage, 2005). This is likely to also have a positive impact on both the parents and children’s wellbeing.

Video has also been useful to support teachers to develop their interactions with children who have been identified as having SEBD (Brown and Kennedy, 2011). The comparisons from pre and post measures indicated considerable positive changes. These changes included teachers building conversations using the children’s ideas which encouraged an increase in children’s participation within the classroom.

In addition, VIG has been used to support children’s social and communication difficulties for those with a visual impairment. Another way in which professionals learn skills through VIG is through the Mediated Learning Experience. This suggests that everyone is able to learn and acquire new skills throughout their lives (Silver, n.d). The pupils attended a specialist unit for children with a visual impairment (Statham, 2002). The study used video analysis to explore the principles of attuned interactions and guidance which were being used during their conversations. The results indicated that the VIG intervention allowed the principles of attuned interactions and guidance to be explicitly taught, which therefore allowed the children to engage well in two way conversations through taking shorter turns during conversations.

Educational psychologists (EPs) are ideally positioned to use VIG as they are able to work at all levels – for example, working with a child individually, working with their family or with school staff. EPs have used VIG in a variety of contexts. This has been illustrated through the work of Coventry and Prior-Jones (2010) who reported four case studies. These case studies included working with

  • a year 5 child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a mainstream school to support interactions in the playground,
  • a new Learning Support Assistant (LSA) working with a child with learning/language needs (as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD)),
  • a child with Hearing Impairment, supporting the parents’ interactions using British Sign Language (BSL),
  • a family with three girls under the age of 8 years with challenging behaviour.

All of these cases reported positive findings whereby service users felt that VIG was ‘easy’ to put into practice and it appeared to be a solution-focussed approach.

  • Using Video Interaction Guidance to support the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of support staff

In the classroom, VIG has been implemented in order to enhance conversations between the teacher and the pupils. A study undertaken by educational psychologists who were exploring the use of teacher’s conversations with pupils found that VIG promoted learning whilst increasing the amount of participation by children (Brown and Kennedy, 2011). The educational psychologists led a CPD workshop whereby they supported teachers to understand the importance of interactions with a particular focus on fostering children’s participation in class. Video clips were used to film teacher’s interactions in the classroom and explore how they involved the pupils in the learning process. Teachers were able to reflect on the positive aspects of their practice and reflect upon their interactions in the classroom. The teachers made some small changes in their approach to talking and encouraging dialogue with the pupils in their class. This meant that pupils were a part of the learning conversations and more actively engaged within classroom interactions. This enabled the pupils to talk more and the teachers to talk less (Brown and Kennedy, 2011). This suggests that VIG as an intervention may have made the teachers become more aware of their practice. However, researchers did not seek feedback from the participating pupils, which may have been useful in order to explore their awareness of any changes and inform the implementation of future interventions.

VIG has also been implemented to support the training of teaching assistants (TAs). VIG was found to bring about positive changes in interaction and communication patterns through noting an increase in some of the VIG principles of attuned interactions and guidance. For example, the TAs reported that they particularly increased in their use of scaffolding tasks to support pupils. There appeared to be more consistent attuned interactions taking place and the TAs felt that this could have been due to VIG encouraging a positive approach and encouraging them to be able to reflect whilst working collaboratively which they felt was motivating (Hewitt, 2009). Similar findings were illustrated when using VIG to promote strengths and empower TAs through the development of their communication skills in managing individual pupils with SEN (Forsythe, 2010).

Some of the elements of VIG have been used to develop a process of Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP). This method aims to use video to record professionals in practice whilst reflecting on successful elements of the interactions taking place within the video clips (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2011; Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2015). VERP training can be offered to school staff for example in order to support their Continuing Professional Development.

3.2 Summary

The benefits of VIG have been highlighted through various studies describing the gains made by both pupils and staff in schools. VIG can be used to support any difficulties with communication and/or interaction in a wide range of contexts. The studies above have illustrated some of the potential uses of VIG in schools including supporting pupils through paired learning opportunities, working with pupils with additional needs to enhance communication as well as through using VIG to enhance staff training. VIG offers a positive approach to change, with an emphasis on reinforcing desirable behaviours (Mussett, 2014). VIG can often be used alongside other interventions and can be used by professionals such as educational psychologists, TAs and teachers.

Further studies have indicated the use of VIG when working with children with social and communication difficulties, Visual/Hearing Impairments and for those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These studies have taken place in various settings such as in early years settings, mainstream schools, specialist provisions and in higher education thus illustrating the breadth of settings in which VIG can be applied. Given the benefits which various studies have shown in relation to improving classroom practice and pupils’ engagement this is an area for growth within the field of VIG research.

4.0 Implications for practice and research

The implications for parents, school staff and pupils as well as the implications for research are considered.

4.1 Implications for parents, school staff and pupils

This literature review contributes to the evidence to support the use of VIG and video more generally as an intervention to support parents, school staff and pupils. Through exploring the literature, parents and school staff will be able to appreciate the potential benefits of implementing such interventions using video. As VIG has been used to enhance the communication in classrooms to increase pupil participation, this could be a useful process which could be shared with the pupils. It would also be interesting to explore the views of the pupils who have been involved in this process. VIG could also be used within parent groups whereby feedback could be shared, (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2011) a move towards a more collaborative way of working.

Through using VIG in schools, this could provide an opportunity for staff to review their performance as well as tracking pupils’ progress. Considerable pressure is often placed upon staff in schools to ensure pupils are making progress and their practice is often measured through lesson observations. A strengths based approach such as VIG could enable a refreshing opportunity to accentuate the positives (Fredrickson, 2001) rather than focusing on what is not going so well.

4.2 Implications for research

Despite the existing evidence base for the use of VIG there are still a lot of studies which are yet to be published. Further research using detailed accounts of how VIG has been used in different contexts would be useful to explore further.

Throughout many of the studies discussed, it was unclear whether or not the long term gains had been examined. This is another potential area for research and could take place by carrying out follow up work post intervention in order to examine any sustained change. It would also be interesting to explore some of the mechanisms associated with what particular aspect of using video enables positive change.

Further interventions using video which are becoming more popular in research include Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP). This is a strengths based approach which focuses on the core principles of attuned interactions (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2015). VERP uses around three or four cycles of video to record practitioners’ work and invites them to reflect on their own practice (Kennedy, Landor and Todd, 2011) as part of CPD. There is more research up and coming within this area given the positive findings surrounding the use of VIG. Other interventions using video include Video Feed Forward (VFF) with a key focus on changing specific behaviours and these are measured through the observed outcomes (Crystal, Whitlow and Buggey, 2003; Kennedy, Landor & Todd 2011). Video Self-Modelling (VSM) is a specific application of video modelling which focuses on individuals performing specific behaviours successfully and then they replicate this behaviour (Dowrick, 1991). These differ from VIG which focuses on interaction skills and improving relationships through a focus on the principles of attuned interactions and guidance.

5.0 Conclusion

The use of VIG has traditionally been used to enhance the relationships between caregivers and their children. This has been achieved through the use of positive video feedback which has enabled caregivers to actively engage clients in the process, in order to develop and enhance the quality of these interactions with children.

I conclude from this brief literature review that there is a growing evidence base for the effectiveness of VIG in both the family home and in schools. I am aware that the majority of this evidence suggests the effectiveness of VIG with many studies reporting positive outcomes. There is less experimental research in this area than in direct interventions which include working with families. Practitioners are carrying out further action research which has allowed the evidence base to expand. This literature review used both published papers and university masters/doctoral dissertations which have also contributed to the growing evidence base (Gavine and Forsyth, 2011). However, much of this research has taken place through small scale studies and generalisations should be made with caution.

Given some of the evidence base which has been shared within this review as well as the other existing studies, there could be further opportunities for professionals to be supported to implement VIG. Educational psychologists are well placed to share and promote this intervention with schools. This could benefit pupils with a variety of additional needs as well as supporting staff with their CPD to enable them to identify their strengths within their existing practice.



Association for Video Interaction Guidance UK (n.d) [online] Available from: http://videointeractionguidance.net/ [Accessed on 19th October 2014].

Brown, K and Kennedy, H (2011) ‘Learning through conversation: Exploring and extending teacher and children’s involvement in classroom talk’. School Psychology International, 32, 377–396.

Coventry, S and Prior-Jones, C (2010) ‘Video Interaction Guidance: Its relevance for educational psychologists’. The DECP debate, 134.

Crystal K. Whitlow and C, K Buggey, T (2003) ‘Video self-modelling: an effective intervention for a preschooler with language delays’ [online]. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxyd.bham.ac.uk/enhanced/doi/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2003.00183.x/#Survey. [Accessed on 24th October 2014].

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Fredrickson, B, L (2001) ‘The role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology: The Broaden and Build Theory of Emotion’. American Psychologist, 56, 3 218-226.

Fukkink, R, G and Trienekens, N (2011). Video feedback in education and training: Putting learning in the picture. Educational Psychology Review, 23, 45 – 63.

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Hewitt, J (2009) Video Interaction Guidance: A training tool for Classroom Assistants in mainstream classrooms. PhD thesis.

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Kennedy, H, Landor, M and Todd, L (2015) Video Enhanced Reflective Practice: Professional Development through Attuned Interactions. Jessica Kingsley: London.

Leadsom, A, Field, F, Burstow, P and Lucas, C (2013) ‘1001 Critical Days Parliamentary Cross-Party Manifesto: The Importance of the Conception to Age Two Period’. Available from [online]: http://www.andrealeadsom.com/downloads/1001cdmanifesto.pdf. Available online.

MacCallum, L (2013) A systematic review of school based mentoring interventions and an exploratory study of using Video Interaction Guidance to support peer reading mentors. PhD thesis, The University of Newcastle.

Mussett, M (2014) The Impact of Video Interaction Guidance on Primary School Pupils’ Self Esteem, Attitudes, Behaviours and Skills in Collaborative Group Work. PhD thesis, University of Dundee.

NSPCC (2015) Child neglect and Video Interaction Guidance an evaluation of an NSPCC service offered to parents where initial concerns of neglect have been noted [online]. Available at: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/evaluation-of-services/video-interactive-guidance-vig-evaluation-report.pdf Accessed on 21st January 2017.

Savage, E (2005) The Use of Video Interaction Guidance To Improve Behaviour, Communication and Relationships In Families with Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. PhD thesis, Queens University.

Silver, J. (no date) A Mediated Learning Approach: the rationale [online]. Available at: http://www.thinkingschool.co.uk/ckeditor_assets/attachments/32/mediated-learning-approach-rationale.pdf [Accessed on: 21st January 2017].

Statham, A (2002) An evaluation of the use of the contact principles used in Video Interactive Guidance to scaffold the development of social and communication skills in primary school children with a visual impairment. PhD thesis, University of Dundee.

Walmsley, L (2010) ‘VIG in schools with children as clients. Personal Communication’. In H. Kennedy, M. Landor & L. Todd (eds.) Video Interaction Guidance: a relationship-based intervention to promote attunement, empathy and well-being. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

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