EDUCATOR RESOURCE: Five Questions to Always Ask in Difficult Situations

EDUCATOR RESOURCE: Five Questions to Always Ask in Difficult Situations

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Summary Advice for how to communicate with children when negativity arises.
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Five Questions to Always Ask

By Alaya Preschool

Below is advice for how to communicate with children when a challenging behavior or negativity arises.

  1. What need is the child attempting to fulfill or meet?
  2. What strengths is the child using to fulfill the need?
  3. Has the child lost self-control? Or can the child participate in solving the problem?
  4. Do you feel blaming/blamed/judgmental/sad/mad/scared/manipulated about what the child is doing or has done? Have you lost self-control?
  5. If you were the child what would you want somebody to do?


Rest naturally in whatever arises.


By paying close attention to how each child perceives the world, learns, and manifests his or her own wisdom, the teacher’s experience is not of dealing with ignorant people needing to be stuffed with information, but dealing with tremendous intelligence on the student’s part. Trusting in this, education is viewed as a celebration, “not merely making the illiterate literate” (Trungpa). This celebration takes place within a specifically defined form. By trusting in the children, the teacher can invite the student’s sanity to enter in all situations. Because of their natural intelligence, children need not be shielded from the world. We as teachers are quite willing to work with negativity as it arises. We see it as important—it belongs simply because it exists—and it is accommodated. The child then realizes the number of intelligent and productive ways of responding to the situation; ways that she or he is capable of. Confidence grows and the child’s curiosity can flourish in an atmosphere of openness. They learn to see clearly; to be present and alert.

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