Google+ Elementary School Counselor blog, by Scott Ertl, Elementary School Counselor: Tired of drama? Use these 3 questions instead!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tired of drama? Use these 3 questions instead!

Tired of hearing all of the stories about who said what about someone else? I found a way to bypass their arguments about who started it and skip the desire to get to the bottom of it by trying to get everyone to agree about what really happened--which never happens. Instead, I simply ask 3 questions. 

First, I ask all 3-4 girls to sit down, close their eyes, and show me with their fingers their answers to these 3 questions. On a scale of 0-10, where 0=Terrible, 5=OK or in the middle, and 10=Best friends..

1. "Show me the BEST that you have ever gotten along with each other."

2. "Show me where you are right now."

3. "Show me what you would like to be right now."

Write down their responses:


Since their eyes are closed, they will feel more comfortable being honest. Afterwards, ask everyone if it's okay for you to share everyone's responses. (They usually will since they are curious about what the others said.) If not, don't share their responses.

Now the good news! Everyone can move from how they are feeling NOW to where they WANT to be in 2 easy steps. First, what do they need to clean up from the past? What do they need to admit and apologize that they personally did wrong? Each student can take turns acknowledging to each other what they wish they didn't do. Second, what do they want to do better next time instead? Also, how can everyone be nicer to each other and have more fun together?

Then, encourage students to use these sentence prompts:
I'm sorry that I ____________. 
From now on, I will _______ instead. 
I want to _______ more often together.

Instead of just sending them back to class, I ask them if they are like me and they sometimes forget things. They usually say, "Yeah." So I ask if they'd like to go back to class now or if they'd like to write down what they want to practice to achieve the relationships with each other that they want. After giving them index cards and pencils, I offer them an opportunity to share what they wrote down and I encourage them to copy down good ideas that one of the others said to make your plan even better.

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  1. Three Questions to Prevent Drama and Produce Results: I think that this is an awesome exercise. I am currently interning as a school counselor and I was in a situation involve 4 girls who were angry with each other; I didn't know how quite to deal with the "she said, he said scenario and so this will be very helpful. Thank You!

  2. Thank you for this.... this time each year the girl drama seems to ramp up (it's May...) and this is extremely helpful! I like the idea of not dwelling in the past and this shows the girls involved how everyone wants to be at a better place... thank you!

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