Einstein once said that if he had an hour to solve a problem and his life depended on it, he would use the first 55 minutes to determine the ‘proper question’ to ask. Once he knew the ‘proper question’, he would be able to solve the problem in less than five minutes.
For most teams, coming up with appropriate questions to ask in order to drive the conversation is the most important part of the process. Unlike Einstein most teams are not going to solve the problem in an hour. However, when teams take the time to ask questions and have meaningful conversations, the child will be the winner.
Conversations allow families and school districts to more effectively work together on the child’s behalf. Effective collaboration begins with meaningful discussions. Rich conversations, which are data and evidence driven, lead to meaningful dialogues. They help families and educators develop innovative solutions. All members of the child’s team, parents and educators, feel they have an equal stake in the process. Everyone feels heard; their input is listened to and valued and they start to understand the other person’s perspective.
When everyone is asking higher level questions more information is being disseminated. Questions that begin with ‘why’ and ‘how do you know’ will lead to deep discussions. These discussions don’t place blame, but merely report data. Statements explain what is happening and why. Through these discussions, school districts become aware that what is currently being done may not be the best plan. Parents realize that what might be best is different from what they thought they wanted.
When teams ask smart questions, they are more likely to find great solutions. Students are then provided with programs, supports and services that ensure they learn and make progress. It is important to continue to have these conversations; continue to monitor progress and needs. Why? Because what is best or most appropriate today may not be what is best or most appropriate tomorrow.