Why do we script our videos and use actors rather than film real classroom lessons?

Most of the videos on the IRIS website are scripted. This allows us to:

  • Demonstrate the correct implementation (i.e., with fidelity) of instructional and behavioral practices.
  • Use student actors to simulate the experiences of struggling students. Although we value the input of struggling students and their parents, out of respect for these families, we do not include video that would violate confidentiality or that would be considered embarrassing or disrespectful.
  • Control classroom variables. For example, when we want to demonstrate a student’s progression through the acting-out cycle, we can do so without additional distractions, such as classmates reacting to the student’s behavior, acting out in response, or contributing to the function of that behavior.
  • Demonstrate a practice or relevant classroom scenario without requiring the viewer to watch extensive footage. For example, when demonstrating the seven phases of the acting-out cycle, we illustrate how the student moves through the phases. However, we acknowledge that some phases may take significantly longer than what is shown in the video. Because our mission is to provide educators with the primary information needed to recognize and address student behavior, we shorten the timeframe for some of the phases.

In short, scripting allows us to focus on key student and teacher behaviors and to demonstrate them with accuracy, fidelity, and respect while also providing effective instruction for you.

Given the negative stereotypes about students of color and challenging behaviors, why did we cast both featured students with actors of color?

We always attempt to show classrooms with a racially and ethnically diverse group of students. As we developed the scripts for this module, our diverse development team carefully considered the racial makeup of the classroom, including the two featured students and the teacher. While not every student is visible in each shot—nor is their race or ethnicity always readily apparent—the classroom, by our measure, contains an inclusive group of students.

Moreover, we recognize concerns regarding students of color and negative stereotypes related to academic achievement, inequitable disciplinary practices in education, and disproportionate representation in special education. To avoid reflecting negative stereotypes, we did not feature students of color in the majority of our IRIS behavioral resources. However, as the resource collection grew, this meant that our videos were not reflective of the overall diversity of the student population in public schools. For that reason, we made a conscious effort to ensure that all the key characters in this module were people of color. By doing so, we hope to avoid any misperceptions of cross-cultural dissonance with respect to analyses of the students’ behavior and the teacher’s responses. Rather, in keeping with the topic of the module, we wanted learners to focus on the phases of the acting-out cycle. Similarly, the elementary version of this module features two White students and a White teacher in a racially and ethnically diverse classroom to prevent any hypothetical analyses from concluding that the student-teacher interactions or conflicts were a result of racial, ethnic, or cultural differences.

Additionally, we also ensured that other students of color were visible throughout the various videos to prevent any analyses from concluding that only the students of color were acting out.

As always, we appreciate your time and welcome your feedback on any of our resources.