The Fields Children’s Centre VERP Project, Cambridgeshire. Miriam Craddock and Kirsten Branigan

The Fields Children’s Centre VERP Project, Cambridgeshire

Miriam Craddock and Kirsten Branigan

Background:

Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP) has been adapted from Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) in order to support professional development. As described by Landor (Kennedy, Landor & Todd 2015), VERP ‘…uses video to help people (parents, setting staff, professionals) to understand and improve their communication with others. […] VERP uses the VIG approach specifically to increase effectiveness in inter-professional or professional-pupil interaction. It is an effective way of applying VIG to various training, team-building and professional development projects, leading to sustainable growth in communication skills in an organisation. VERP participants bring videos of themselves in a work context to a shared review with an AVIGuk-accredited Guider/s and are supported to reflect on what works well in terms of their attuned interactions’.

VERP uses video to help group members reflect on their communication and skills and consider how things can be ‘even better’. Each member of the VERP group set their own personal goal of what they would like to achieve by the end of the VERP project.

The sessions are led by a VERP guider (an AVIGuk-accredited guider) who supports and encourages participants to identify their ‘attuned interactions’ (communication where two or more people have an effect on each other by being mutually receptive and sensitively responsive) (Kenney, Landor & Todd 2011) and, through micro-analysis of video, to reflect on clips that help them towards their personal goal.

VERP takes place over a number of sessions, with breaks in-between in order to enable participants to record videos. During the sessions, each participant will share their video clip as the rest of the group take on a ‘reflective team’ role. As the sessions develop the VERP guider moves from a supportive, teaching role to a facilitator enabling the VERP participants to take more ownership of their development.

Rationale for the Fields Children’s Centre VERP project

A Video Enhanced Reflective Practice project was commissioned through conversations with a Children’s Centre manager, who was keen to explore training in Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) for family workers in the setting, although financial constraints were a limiting factor. VERP was proposed as a model that would be able to meet the best hopes of the commissioner:

1) to empower and increase confidence of the workers to use video in their work with families

2) to increase the reflective capacity of the team by looking at short clips of their interaction with the parents they work with.

Methodology

An introductory meeting was held with the family workers (n=5) in July 2016. This aimed to share the aims of VIG and VERP approaches, introduce the VIG Attunement Principles (Kennedy, Landor & Todd 2011), outline expectations for VERP training including the content of the course and discuss practicalities around videoing. A two day Initial Training Programme was held over a two week period in September. Day 1 included the co-construction of two group goals and the group’s name, videos to illustrate the principles for developing attunement (Kennedy, Landor & Todd 2011), and the concept of following the client’s initiatives, exercises for identifying attuned interactions on video, and initial videoing practice. Day 2 included completion of baseline measures, setting, scaling and recording personal goals, identifying a parent to work with and support around engagement, preparation and consents for videoing, introducing expectations around recording and micro-analysing video clips for group supervisions and next steps for supervision dates.

Group Goals:

“Use the VIG Attunement Principles to listen to parents/carers and receive what they are saying/thinking/doing to develop a common goal.”
“To further develop confidence in maintaining positive relationships with parents/carers alongside being able to have complex and challenging conversations.”

Individual Goals:

“To develop my confidence in deepening the discussion with parents in order to support the sharing of information during initial meeting.”
“To develop my confidence in noticing, recognising and responding to parents’ initiatives.”
“To be able to empower parents to do something different or to feel they have more control over situations so that they can make changes that will impact on their lives.”
“To help parents to see that they can make changes that will impact on their lives.”
“To feel more confident in my work, letting the parent take the lead more and giving time between conversations.”

Four group supervisions (of 1.5 hours) were held approximately every month between October and February 2017. The Family workers brought videos to supervision where they had found positive moments that showed them using the Attunement Principles in their interactions with parents. Two VIG practitioners worked collaboratively with a team of 5 family workers to explore video together in shared reviews. The VIG practitioners took turns to facilitate with the family workers, supporting each to identify positive moments of attuned interaction and next steps to take forward. A final celebration session was held in March to celebrate the strengths and next steps of interaction of each family worker, re-rating of the VIG Attunement Principles and re-rating of individual and group goals and completion of an evaluation questionnaire. Certificates of attendance were given to each participant as an acknowledgement and celebration of completion of the VERP course for the purposes of CPD record.

Results

Target Monitoring and Evaluation (TME) (Dunsmuir, Brown, Iyadurai, & Monsen, 2009) was used as an evidence-based outcome measurement to measure impact. This is a common tool widely used in Educational Psychology practice to measure the anticipated impact of an intervention, through the use of goal setting over time on a numerical scale. Goal setting with TME pre- and post- data was used with group and individual goals, at baseline and on completion of the VERP course. The TME data revealed positive shifts of 1.5 points for group goal 1, and a positive shift of 3 points for group goal 2 when re-rated on completion of the project. The TME data revealed a mean positive shift of 2.8 points in relation to progress with individual goals, with an overall effect size 1.4  (d= 1.4, where d is mean post TME scores – mean pre TME scores/ SD) which is considered to be a large effect size  (Coe, 2002). However, it must be recognised that the sample size was small, and that the measures were based on self-reports. Participants also completed a self-rating scale on their use of the VIG Attunement Principles pre- and post- project. The self-rating scales showed increased frequency in the participant’s use of the VIG Attunement Principles in their interactions with parents. When analysed by sub-section on the VIG Attunement Principles, the overall effect sizes were significant across all building blocks of the VIG Attunement Principles for attuned interactions:

  • Being Attentive (supporting and attending to a parent’s initiative) d = 63
  • Initiatives and Reception (encouraging and responding to a parent’s initiative) d = 70
  • Attuned Interaction (encouraging turn-taking, giving a parent a second turn on the same topic, receiving their second turn) d =21
  • Scaffolding (extending parent’s responses, balancing leading and following): d = 78 

Qualitative feedback from responses from participants gathered in the evaluation questionnaire and video of final celebration session revealed positive responses from the participants, and an overall sense that the team was more cohesive and connected on completion of the project:

“A brilliant opportunity to reflect on my own practice”      

“I’m much more aware of what I’m doing and able to think ‘why is that happening?’ ”   

 “I found looking at the videos together with trainers who modelled how to home in on small positive interactions really useful.”      

“I am more aware of finding opportunities to introduce appropriate challenge with parents.”       

“I am now more conscious of what I am saying and how I am interacting with others.”    

“I liked being able to see the tiny moments of change … of realisation that something is happening that you don’t normally pick up.”  

“ It is like it has changed the way my brain works … and I can now ask questions at the right time and pick up on parent’s initiatives.”

“It’s been really helpful to watch other people’s videos.” 

“I’ve slowed down and think about what the parent is really saying – it’s like a little seed has been planted and when I’m talking to parents I consciously think about what they are thinking.”

Illustration of a VERP Group Supervision session

Discussion: reflections, spin-offs, and implications for future practice

In addition to the significant effect sizes across all blocks of the VIG Attunement Principles for attuned interactions evidenced in the statistical analysis, the five family workers also reported increased confidence in their interactions with parents. Moreover both VERP guiders reported increased confidence in facilitation of a VERP shared review with respect to attuned reception of initiatives of up to 5 participants within a Group supervision session. Although not formally evaluated with a self-rating scale, it was concluded that this could be considered for the evaluation of future VERP projects.

A poster presentation of the project was delivered at the AVIG UK International Conference ‘Video Interaction Guidance – Closing the Gap’ Glasgow May 2017, and again at an Eastern Region Video Interaction Guidance Practitioner Day, Suffolk June 2017. This led to further conversations with VIG practitioners about setting up similar projects in up to three Local Authorities across the UK, with whom the lead author has been in email correspondence subsequent to the conference. Moreover, interest in the commissioning of future VERP projects has also been generated locally with Cambridgeshire based VIG practitioners across a range of contexts: Social Care, Children’s Centres and a local area Special School. Four out of five family workers from the Field’s Children Centre reported enthusiasm and motivation to begin VIG training, when funding becomes available.

The VERP facilitators have reflected with whom to share the results from this current VERP project to engage potential commissioners. Reflection on completion of the Project has also concluded that participants were observed to need additional modelling on how to identify positive attunement at the start of the project. They also reflected on physical positioning within the shared review to enable empowerment, as well as how to support the organisation of time to support micro-analysis of videos between supervisions within the context of the demanding role of a family worker in a Children’s Centre. The commissioner of the current VERP project joined the final celebration session, and shared the impact that the project had had for staff confidence; they also felt empowered to report the significant outcome data and qualitative feedback into Cambridgeshire’s LA Ofsted inspection, when the setting was selected to feed into the inspection. Project costings have been reflected on, with conclusions in respect to market value, indicating that the project is a ‘good spend’ in being able to evidence the impact of its overall aim: to support the continuing professional development of a team.

Miriam.Craddock@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

References

Coe, R. (2002) It’s the effect size, stupid. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, Exeter, 12-14 September 2002

Dunsmuir, S., Brown, E., Iyadurai, S. & Monsen, J. 2009 ‘Evidence-based practice and evaluation: from insight to impact’ Educational Psychology in Practice Vol. 25 Issue 1

Kennedy, H, Landor, M., and Todd, L. (eds.) (2011). Video Interaction Guidance: A Relationship-Based Intervention to Promote Attunement, Empathy and Wellbeing. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Kennedy, H., Landor, M., & Todd, L. (eds.) (2015). Video Enhanced Reflective Practice: Professional development through attuned interactions. London: Jessica Kingsley

 

 

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