INTRODUCTION

This technique is about assessment. It is built upon three conceptual structures:

1) that interactions between people create thoughts in the other person which may be helpful and/or harmful;

We have a ‘magical’ ability to influence how others think simply by the words we choose and the style of communication. Slips of the tongue can become major causes of distress, yet few of us know what the elements are that are destructive. Parents and teacher commonly use language which support maladaptive thoughts. In fact, their effectiveness epitomizes the strength of cognitive behavior management procedures.

2) that this interrelatedness extends to all of the people who regularly populate an individual’s ecosystem; and

Gregory Bateson (1979) suggests that while the division of the perceived universe into parts and wholes is convenient and may be necessary, no necessity determines how it shall be done. He points out that we commonly speak as though a single ‘thing’ could ‘have’ some characteristic. A stone, for example, is ‘hard’, ‘small’, ‘heavy’, and so on.

But this way of talking is not good enough. To think straight, it is advisable to expect all qualities and attributes, adjectives and so on to refer to at least two sets of interactions at a time.

For example, ‘The stone is hard’ means a) that when poked it resisted penetration and b) that certain continued interactions among the molecular parts of the stone in some way bond the parts together. Or ‘The stone is stationary’ comments on the location of the stone relative to the location of the speaker and other possible moving things.

Language continually asserts by the form of subject and predicate that ‘things’ somehow ‘have’ qualities and attributes. A more precise way of talking would insist that the ‘things’ are produced, are seen as separate from other ‘things’, and are made ‘real’ by their internal relations and by their behavior in relationship with other things and with the speaker.

3) that these regular participants need to take responsibility for the whole, not simply draw attention to a part.

To suggest that a disruption in the community is caused by an individual takes responsibility away from all other participants. Just as the juvenile justice system is seeing the wisdom of gathering together the ‘community’ for healing, so to must the community participate in both the assessment and the recovery process.

These concepts might suggest that referral and assessment for professional clinical services may be ‘toxic’ as presently implemented. A child is selected for assessment because of ‘information’ about attitudes or behaviors that are affecting social performance obtained by the community. Described by Bateson as ‘the difference that makes a difference’, this information has made a difference to the child managers and has reached a level of concern that they believe requires a referral. Usually this information is described as inappropriate or atypical behavior that has caused some degree of disruption in the normal process of life in the community. This is certainly worth exploration.

Yet, the process of assessment is a dangerous one. Regardless of the components being assessed, there is a tendency to find what you are looking for. The influence of confirmatory evidence is particularly strong when both variables are asymmetric because information about the nonoccurrence of one the variables is likely to be ignored. Such negative or null instances have been shown to be particularly difficult to process according to Gilovich [1991]. Gilovich goes on to point out that people exhibit a parallel tendency to focus on positive or confirming instances when they gather and evaluate information relevant to a given belief or hypothesis. When trying to assess whether a belief is valid, people tend to seek out information that would potentially confirm the belief, over information that might disconfirm it.

The tendency apparently need not stem from any desire for the hypothesis to be true. This danger is increased with the ambiguity of the task. Thus, it is relatively easy to rate the height and/or weight of the individual without bias, but difficult to decide whether or not that person requires help. To err is human, and the humane error in this case is generally thought to be an assumption of need. That is the nature of the relationship. This is followed by a labeling designation and some intervention process, which may be self-defeating if the child senses no need. There is also a variety of other human information processing problems that also need to be considered. These include haphazard detail, the influence of experience, ignoring complexity, the need for closure, and inadequate self correction [Carlson – 1993].

Reducing this dangerous tendency of assessment will require a shift in our social institutions from power-based structures and practices to relationship-based structures and practice; which itself is supportive of a change from a deficit model, in which the beneficent outside power rescues an individual from weaknesses, to a capacity building model, in which individuals rescue themselves based on their own strengths and relationships in the community. These processes give more power for finding solutions to those most directly involved and decrease reliance on distant authority. These new decision makers represent the child’s community, in the sense that these are the people who have the greatest common interest in seeing that the behavior of the child is effective and efficient in establishing mutually satisfying and gratifying relationships with peers and adults.

The process that is described here is one that is to be carried out by a group of people composed primarily of those people who know the child and/or are charged with the supervision of the child. This ‘community’ would include, but not be limited to:

  • the child;
  • the child’s parents and other family members;
  • the child’s teachers and other involved school personnel [e.g., guidance counselor];
  • any other professional and/or natural support person who relates to the child;
  • a person who is unaffiliated with the child, family or school, but is knowledgeable about nature of child/adult relations;
  • a facilitator who can lead the process of assessment.

Depending upon the nature of the specific focus, the Community Assessment Support Team [CAST] may include victims and/or their parents who may have particular concerns about the nature of the change that is expected to occur.

The most important issue for this CAST to understand is that challenging behaviors serve a function for the child and are context specific. The second most important issue is to understand that they, in fact, are the context. The purpose of the CAST is to assess the situation and develop support for the child and/or his victims [people adversely affected by the behaviors] and to find the means to reconcile all parts of the community. The process, therefore, is one of examining not only the performance of the child, but the performance of those who manage the child as well.

FACILITATOR

In the following process, it is important to note that the assessment specialist assumes the role of a facilitator of the assessment process, rather than the traditional one-person assessment role. S/he may also, of course, do some of the observations and surveys, so the function of facilitator is additive. While arguments could be made, therefore, that there is not time to do a CAST assessment, this is being ‘penny wise and pound foolish’. It seems we never have time to do things right, but always have time to do them over.

It is the facilitator’s responsibility to involve the community members in the CAST process and to ensure that they understand that the assessment is an evaluation of the performance of the total community and all of its parts.

It will be very important that the facilitator help CAST members understand that blame is not an issue and should not come up. Personal responsibility, however, is an issue and a large one. If it is determined that any person is contributing to the disruption in the community, it is expected that s/he will willingly participate in a corrective process.

PROCESS

1.

The first action taken by the CAST is to identify the attitudes and behaviors that are of concern. This requires an understanding that behaviors do not occur outside of a relationship. A child cannot be characterized as ‘aggressive’; but a relationship can. The meaning of communication is in the response it elicits. The good intentions of the sender are not what was acquired by the receiver if the response is aggression. Resistance is a comment about the communicator. Thus, if the child’s behavior is unacceptable, one must understand the internal/ external context of the situation and address both intent and outcome. The articulation of the dilemma should include both the behavior that has signaled ‘difference’ and the circumstances in which the behavior occurs.

Whose problem is it?

This stage of the community assessment is culminated by the development of a statement of the dilemma, which should indicate:

• specifically – what attitudes and behaviors are problematic;
• to whom are these attitudes and behaviors problematic;
• if the behaviors are not problematic to the child who performed them, what are the attitudes that determine the behaviors;
• what are the antecedents and consequences of the behavior [attitudes and behavioral responses of others] and are they problematic to the child?

Thus a statement of the dilemma might be as follows:

John tends to fight whenever his personal space is encroached upon. This behavior is of particular concern to his peers, teachers and parents. This behavior is not particularly of concern to John. However, John dislikes being kept after school when such incidents occur at school and dislikes being ‘grounded’ when the incidents occur at home. He perceives his behavior as being justified by the actions of the person who encroached, and therefore, sees the consequences as being unjust.

The development of this statement is an attempt to make the dilemma conscious and available to all stakeholders, so that the CAST can attend to it properly. The fact that the statement must be negotiated in a manner in which the wording satisfies all stakeholders helps to minimize the processing errors usually found in the assessment process.

A dilemma is defined as a necessary choice between equally undesirable alternatives or a perplexing predicament. This seems to describe the community alternatives available at a time when they are seeking outside help. The child may need to change; the community may need to change; or both may need to change. The choices made by the CAST about how to seek restoration of community relationships may be seen as difficult, but such choices need to be made.

2.

Once the CAST has agreed on and established a statement of the dilemma, it shall seek to collect information that will help all stakeholders understand the nature of the predicament and to create solutions. Three formal patterns of data collection are available which will only be briefly described here,

Initial Inquiry – the first part of the functional cognitive behavior assessment entails a formal inquiry of all stakeholders to review the setting events, antecedents, behavior response and consequences. Of particularly importance is to define these contexts both from an internal and external perspective: what was the child thinking when the incident stimulus happened, the behavior happened and the consequence happened. You will note that the example statement of the dilemma implies that the child feels victimized rather than victimizing. What do the child manager’s think in these situations. If the child managers think that the child is incapable of achieving some competence required by the community, the child manager may then be acting in a way that ‘bends over backwards’ to please the child – but is received by the child as patronizing, which interpretation causes the child to seek to establish him/her self as powerful – wherein s/he select the offensive behavior. The initial inquiry, if properly used, can begin to infer these thoughts through ‘leakage’ of the self-thoughts that occur routinely, but may increase at time of crisis. In order to ensure that this objective is met, it is important that the standard behavioral Line of Inquiry be updated to include questions which seek to address cognitive errors such as, but not limited to, magnifying, personalization, overgeneralization, ‘shoulds’, predicting, mind reading, etc. [See CBAT#01 – FCBA]

Observation – Observations need to be made of both the child and the child manager and include the interaction of all people in the community. The observer needs to focus on the ‘messages’ being sent back and forth. The meaning of communication is in the response it elicits. Part of the function of the observer is to explore various ‘translations’ of messages between the child manager and the target child, child manager and other children and child to child. What messages are helpful to restoring order and what messages are not. Again, this is not to blame the sender for the wrong message, but is focused on remedy. What is the intent of the message, and if appropriate, how can the content be restructured to improve reception outcome? If inappropriate, what cognitive errors or core beliefs are interfering with proper execution?

While there are several standard behavioral observation forms for observing children they will need to be updated in a similar manner to include these cognitive observation and ‘inner thoughts’. The only child manager observation forms we are aware of are included in the materials of Teacher Expectation and Student Achievement [TESA]. These include observation of variables such as Response Opportunities [equitable distribution, individual help, latency, delving, higher-level questioning]; Feedback [affirm/correct, praise, reasons for praise, listening, accepted feelings]; Personal Regard [proximity, courtesy, personal interest and compliments, touching, and desist].

Other interactive characteristics of child managers might include observation of communication from the perspective of 1) transactional communication: adult to adult, parent to child, and child to parent 2) directive communication that gives direction and instruction through describing the problem, giving information, offering choices, sending the message with a word or gesture, having the child manager describe what s/he feels and specifically stating his/her expectations.

We would want to know if the child manager’s message is pejorative blaming, accusing, calling names, threatening, giving orders, lecturing and moralizing, warning, playing the martyr, comparing, being sarcastic, prophesying – questions child’s motives, character and/or competence.

We would want to know that the child manager is able to acknowledge the child’s feelings, accepts and reflects child’s feelings and states/checks how the child is feeling instead of criticizing, questioning and giving advice. Uses active listening [e.g., eye contact, nodding, paraphrasing and giving no interruptions

We would also be interested in the child managers ability to capitalize on good news – how does s/he, for example respond when the child tells him/her that s/he’s just been promoted to valedictorian or that the most beautiful girl in his class just accepted a date with him, or when that he just made a the soccer team. Shelly Gable, as reported by Martin E.P. Seligman (2003), who is an assistant professor of psychology at UCLA, works on the positive psychology of love and marriage and believes she has the key to relationships which are contained in just such responses

• Does the child manager ‘react enthusiastically’ (active-constructive)? “That’s the best news I’ve heard this week, and I’ll bet its just the first of many big raises you’ll get.”
• Does s/he ‘point out the potential problems or down sides of the good event’ (active-destructive)? “Are you sure you can handle the added responsibility?”
• Do s/he “say little, but convey that s/he is happy to hear the news” (passive-constructive)? “That’s very nice, my dear.”
• Do s/he “seem uninterested” (passive-destructive)? “Isn’t all this rain something?”

Gable calls the first category ‘Capitalizing’, amplifying the pleasure of the good situation and contributing to an upward spiral of positive emotion. Capitalizing turns out to be the key to strong relationships.

The question that the observer seeks to answer is how does the child manager’s mate, child or best friend characterize his/her habitual responses to their good news?

Active/Constructive

The child manager usually reacts to good fortune enthusiastically.

I sometimes get the sense that s/he is even more happy and excited than I am.

S/he often asks a lot of questions and shows genuine concern about the good event.

Passive/Constructive

The child manager tries not to make a big deal out of it, but is happy for me.

S/he is usually silently supportive of the good things that occur to me.

S/her says little, but I know s/he is happy for me.

Active/Destructive

The child manager often finds a problem with it.

S/he reminds me that most good things have their bad aspects as well.

S/he points out the potential down sides of the good event.

Passive/Destructive

Sometimes I get the impression that s/he doesn’t care much.

The child manager doesn’t pay much attention to me.

S/he often seems uninterested.

The consequences of being ‘active/constructive’ as opposed to any of the others are robust and important. While Gable is concerned with marriage relationships, the active/constructive approach is indicative of a positive, supportive relationship with children as well, and indications of a failure to at least sometimes provide such support is likely to indicate the high potential of negative thought processes in the child.

Other issue to observe

Does the child manager have beginner’s mind, meaning that s/he is able to put aside his/her own assumptions and listen only to the child?

Does the child manager express the child’s wishes in fantasy [give in fantasy what cannot be given in reality]?

Does the child manager regularly provide positive internal attributions [See CBT#24 – Attribution Training] and do so antecedent to the potential time of disruption?

Does the child manager display humor or can s/he be playful at times and join in with the kids?

Does the child manager put serious things in writing?

The observer will want to determine the management style. Is it authoritarian, authoritative, laissez faire and/or inconsistent?

How does the child manager monitor the child. Does s/he know where the child is and what the child is doing at all times the child is under his/her supervision? Does the child manager ask for itinerary, checks up, ‘spy’ or simply ignore where the child goes and what the child does? Or is the child manager simply inconsistent in the way s/he does the job of monitoring?

Does the child manager essentially treat discipline as a noun, meaning that discipline must be learned and become self discipline? This involves the type of teaching that is done, the quality of style, the consequential strategies, the reinforcement strategies and the ability to separate. behavior from child

On the other hand does the child manager treat discipline as a verb meaning that ‘command and control’ must be imposed. This involves the type of reward/punishment, quality of style [particularly whether the child manager gets angry or is psychologically attacking], consequential and reinforcement strategies

It should be obvious that new forms for observation of the child and child managers will need to be developed. Both of these forms should be expanded to include observations of cognitive errors through verbal ‘leakage’ of automatic thoughts. This will require both general observation [listening] and a ‘briefing’ pattern that asks specific question about what the child/child manager was thinking when specific incidents occurred.

Surveys: There are a variety of surveys that can be used to address both the behavioral and cognitive aspect of the dilemma. While the behavioral surveys are quite well known, particularly in school settings, the Beck Depression Inventory, The Perception Inventory [Teresa Cathers, Kansas University Medical Center], The Burns Depression Checklist, the Burns Anxiety Inventory, The Relationship Satisfaction Scale, The Procrastination Test, The Core Beliefs Inventory [adapted by McKay & Fanning from Jeffry Young’s Schema Questionnaire], and the Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale are just a few surveys to get at thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.

CAUTION: extreme caution should be used when choosing to use a survey. The titles and language of these surveys send a message that contains information. The information may be new to the individual.

You and I belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events in each other’s brains with exquisite precision. Simply by making noises with our mouths, we can reliably cause precise new combinations of ideas to arise in each other’s minds. Steven Pinker [1994]

By shaping a person to begin to believe that s/he has certain cognitive states which might be attributed to abnormality, the assessor changes the manner in which s/he thinks about self and others. If, in the process, the client accepts a deficit model attribution, the assessor has created through the process of interaction the very diagnosis s/he seeks to uncover.

For this reason, it is strongly encouraged that the assessor understands the concepts of the tests and seek the information through informal conversation rather than through formal testing. Some validity may be lost; but then again, the validity of the test may be based on its instigation of the crippling thoughts rather than the discovery of them.

Finally, it is important to collect data in regard to the child and his/her peers. Among the most significant developmental goals of childhood is peer acceptance. Positive interactions with peers provide opportunities for socialization and promote children’s sense of self-worth and belonging. Research indicates, however, that significant numbers of children remain friendless. This social rejection has been correlated with other indicators of maladjustment, such as impaired academic performance, behavior problems, and emotional disorders. Psychologists have therefore become increasingly concerned with the detection and treatment of children who have few friends and are disliked by their peers.

Peer-rejected children are frequently identified through peer sociometric measures [See CBAT#02 – Sociometry]. Observers ask children to specify classmates with whom they most (positive) and least (negative) like to interact. Children are then classified into categories such as popular (high positive, low negative), neglected (low positive, low negative), rejected (low positive, high negative), controversial (high positive, high negative), or average (no extreme on positive or negative). Researchers may also utilize a 5-point Likert-type scale that assesses preferences for classmates. Children complete a scale ranging from a smiling face to a frowning face to indicate the extent to which they like to play with a particular child. Both peer sociometric nominations and rating scales consistently emerge as the most accurate indicators of rejected status.

3.

Once the CAST has acquired data, it will analyze the data and develop an hypothesis regarding what motivates and maintains the dilemma.

Since this is a self-reflective process, this may a difficult phase for individual CAST members. One reason for including the non-involved participant in the CAST is to ensure that the community members equally share the responsibility for the dilemma and not focus only on the performance of the child.

Skills of reflection concern slowing down our own thinking processes so that we can become more aware of how we form our mental models and understand the ways they influence our actions. Leaps of abstraction occur when we move from direct observation [concrete ‘data’] to generalizations so quickly that we never think to test them – substitute generalization for specific behaviors and begin to treat the generalization as fact. Such ‘leaps’ often slow learning since most of us are not disciplined in distinguishing what we observe directly from generalizations we infer from our observations and we become stuck on the personal aspects of the general thought. Nothing undermines openness more surely than certainty. You must develop the mind of a beginner; “The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities.” [Suzuki – 1970] Reciprocal inquiry means that everyone will make his/her thinking explicit and subject to public examination. This creates an atmosphere of genuine vulnerability. The goal is no longer to ‘win the argument’, but to find the best argument. If you believe that your solution is right, you cannot proceed. If you believe that your solution is best, it can be improved.

It is important for the CAST to understand the principles of cognitive behavior management in this analysis. The basic rule is that thought creates feeling which instigates behavior. However, the basic training of the principles is available elsewhere and will not be explicated here.

The data collected will include antecedent conditions of both slow and fast triggers, which may be external [environmental] or internal [mental] contexts in which a situation occurs. It is important for the CAST to note that the internal/external designations are relative or, perhaps more specifically relational, since the internal/ mental context of the child managers sets the external/environmental conditions of the child.

This implies that the mental context of the child manager is every bit as important to the dilemma as the mental context of the child, for it is the mental context of the child manager that has determined the consequences of the child’s interactions with other members of the community. The dilemma is an interactive situation characterized by faulty outcome that the community would like to change.

Data must be gathered in a manner that focuses on all major community participants and is used by the entire CAST to determine where the fragments of the disruption lie. The major actor [target child] in the disruption may be only responding to the messages in the environment.

The major hypothesis therefore may be concerned with the child and the other community members and require changes in each or both in order to test the hypothesis and correct the outcomes.

4.

The next step for the CAST is to create a Plan of Change [See CBAT#04 – Plan of Change]. In order to have an effective plan of change, it is important that the CAST know what outcomes they can all agree are desirable. If, for example, the school would like outcome A, and the family would like outcome B, and the child would like outcome C; an effective plan is unlikely to occur.

Thus, the plan of change must begin with a negotiation of outcome expectations and a clear definition of criteria that will be used to determine whether the outcome has been met. Well-formed outcomes must satisfy at least six conditions:

  1. Stated in the Positive: The outcome will specifically need to answer what is a preferred replacement to the thought/behavior that the CAST wants to change.
  2. Appropriately specific and contextualized:
  3. Verifiable (in sensory experience): If this change actually does occur, how will you know it?
  4. Initiated and maintained by the persons making the change:
  5. Secondary gain taken care of: whatever secondary gains that might have occurred despite the negatives needs to be specifically addressed.
  6. ‘Ecological’: One should think of a person as being a part of a system. A change that seems desirable in and of itself will have ramifications throughout that system, and perhaps also throughout the relationships and other systems the subject is a part of. It is essential to check not only that the desired change be worthwhile, but that all its consequences be worthwhile

It is important that the CAST examine all of the evidence concerning the performance of all of the players including, but not limited to the child, the child managers, the peers and siblings including victims or bullies. Each of these may require a component in the plan of change in order to meet the overall goals created to resolve the identified dilemma.

This process of self-examination is part of a change process. Most habitual thoughts that create attitudes about specific ‘others’ are not conscious and simply recognizing that such thoughts and attitudes may exist in oneself is the beginning of a corrective process. This is not always easy, however, and it will be important that the CAST members are both confrontational and comforting to a person who may need to address such issues. The teacher who does not believe that a child can learn and therefore acts in a manner to self-fulfill that prophecy might be appalled to learn that s/he has behaved in such a manner and seek to deny the thought, even in light of behavioral evidence.

The plan of change will need to identify specific interventions that are to take place, the intent of the interventions, and the time schedule for implementation. These interventions may be provided by natural or professional people and may be provided to any member of the CAST.

When the plan of change directs actions to be taken with a secondary or tertiary client, the child serving systems creates a new dilemma – how is such a plan to be funded? This potential needs to be addressed by the Memorandum Of Understanding required by IDEA 1997 as amended and/or other community resources. What is needed is needed.

5.

Finally, the CAST needs to schedule specific times to review the impact of the plan of change and to revise components as necessary based on an evaluation of effectiveness. Using the criteria and outcome expectations defined in step 4, the CAST will determine how they are doing and modify as necessary or congratulate each other for the successful implementation and results.


APPENDIX

DEFINITIONS:

Community Assessment/Support Team [CAST]: this is a designation of the group specifically brought together to explore a disruptive situation and to seek resolution.

Community: this is a designation which is used to define a group of people who know each other, interact with each other on a regular basis, are interested in a single purpose and/or who live, work and/or play together.

Community Serenity: this is a designation that indicates a community at peace. Such a community has no interaction that rises to a level which seeks remedy outside of the community itself. This is not a ‘perfect’ community, but one that is reasonably comfortable with itself.

Disruption: occurs when a ‘difference that makes a difference’ occurs giving new information that is unsettling to part or all of the community. In other words, the interaction between or among the people of the community is disturbed in a manner that causes someone in the community to wish to seek resolution outside of the community itself.

Dilemma is a statement of the problem. The term dilemma implies that there is more than one party to the disruption as in ‘the horns of the dilemma’. While the ‘horns’ imply an either/or difficulty the solution is on which can only occur with a win/win resolution.

Scholar: this is a designation for the person who is defined by the [CAST] as needing to address an attitude [group of thoughts about a particular subject] or interactive behavior which is disruptive to another person in the community and disrupting or maintaining the disruption of the community serenity.

Tutor: this is a designation for the person who is assigned to teach the mental, interpersonal or behavioral skills required to help the scholar address the disruption of the community serenity.

Skill Curriculum: this is a definition of the specific protocol, technique or procedure to be taught by the Tutor to the Scholar and includes the schedule of events and expected termination date.

NOTE: A scholar and a tutor may be the same person, but not using the same skill curriculum. In other words, a person in the community may need to change an attitude/behavior which is disruptive or maintaining a disruption in the community, while at the same time using a different skill curriculum to teach another person how to change an attitude or behavior. In the final analysis, all members of the community are prone to the potential of disruptive or maintenance behaviors and all may be capable to providing support to other members of the community.

Criteria: these are the measurement indicator(s) defined by the CAST which will be used to determine whether the outcome has been met.

Outcome Expectation: This is a definition of the expected consequence of the teaching/learning process defined by the CAST as meeting the needs of restoring community serenity.


CBAT#05-001 Child Observation Form

Data Thought Feeling Behavior
Observed/
Inferred

Reported
—————
by child

—————
by other[specify]

—————

—————
—————

—————
—————

—————
Data Thought Feeling Behavior
CBAT#05-001 Child Observation Form

INSTRUCTIONS

First the observer will be directed to watch for certain target behaviors that have been identified as being disruptive to the community. Note: this disruption can be an observation by the adults in the community that the child is creating problems for him/herself, for other children or for the adult him/herself.

The observer is instructed to identify the behavior by frequency and intensity. The observer will also observe [hear] any self-talk that the child may make during the stimuli, action, and consequence process. From this self-talk, the observer will infer the thoughts of that individual.

The observer will also observe and infer the emotional content of the child. S/he appeared to be angry, frightened, etc.

The observer will then confirm his/her inferences and observations through an interview with the child in which the observer will ask the child what s/he was thinking, feeling during the stimuli, action, and consequence process.

The observer will, for selected incidents, then confirm his/her inferences and observations through an interview with the child manager [and possibly other participants of the SAC process.

The observer will then enter his/her findings on the form and compare the various perspectives of the incident.

From this comparison, the observe with create an hypothesis regarding the elements that have contributed to the disruption in the community.


CBAT#05-002 Child Manager Observation Form

INTRODUCTION

There are six [06] major areas of data collection in regard to child managers. These include:

  1. Cognitive Errors
  2. Interaction
  3. Communication Style
  4. Management Style
  5. Monitoring Style
  6. Attitudes Toward Discipline

A form is available for each of these areas. It is quite difficult to observe and record all these areas at once. It is also problematic to assume that the observer will observe six different times. Therefore, some critical decision-making will need to occur to identify specific areas which are of priority at the start, which rise to priority as the observation occurs, which can be delegated to other observers, and how to collate the data and summarize it. These are not really decisions that can be taken out of context. However, as a general rule, the Cognitive Errors of the Child Manager may become apparent during the CAST meetings and the Initial Inquiry process. The observer may simply be sensitive to attempting to confirm or reject the material so collected. The same expectation may be made regarding the Child Manager’s Attitude Toward Discipline.

The other four areas, however, are unlikely to be observable in these other meetings and may require specific reporting. The observer may therefore end up with two sets of data: specific and inferred. The specific data will be recorded on the attached forms and the inferred will be collected informally. Both sets of data need to be specifically identified in the report and utilized in the creation of an hypothesis regarding the elements that have contributed to the disruption in the community.


CBAT#05-002a Cognitive Error Collection Form

Cognitive Error Re: Target Child Re: Other child
filtering
polarized thinking
overgeneralization
Mind reading
catastrophizing
magnifying
personalization
shoulds
externalizing
prhopecizing

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager communicates a cognitive error when talking with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-002b 1 Child Manager Interaction Form

Interaction Re: Target Child Re: Other child
Response Opportunities
equitable distribution
individual help
latency
delving
higher level questions
Feedback
affirm/correct
praise
reasons for praise
listening
Accepting feelings
Personal Regard
proximity
courtesy
interest – compliments
touching
desist

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager performs the action with target child and/or with other children.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report


CBAT#05-002b 2 Child Manager Interaction Form

Capitalizing

Response As Reported by
Target Child Others
0 1 2 3 4 5 0 1 2 3 4 5
active/constructive
passive/constructive
active/destructive
passive/destructive
Totals
As observed
active/constructive
passive/constructive
active/destructive
passive/destructive
Totals

Key

0 = don’t know
1 = never
2 = sometimes
3 = usually
4 = most of the time
5 = always


CBAT#05-002c1 Transactional Style Form

Communication Re: Target Child Re: Other child

Adult to Adult

Parent to Child

Child to Parent

NOTE: The Parent to Child incident is initiated by the Child Manager and through ‘willfulness’ is responded to by the child. The Child to Parent is initiated by the child and through ‘willfulness’ is responded to by the Child Manager. These represent two different types of difficulties for the Child Manager.

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager communicates in a given style when talking with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-002c2 Directive Style Form

Communication Re: Target Child Re: Other child
describes the problem

Gives information

offers a choice

say with a word or gesture
describe what you [child manager] feel
Puts it in writing

States expectations

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager communicates in a given style when talking with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-002c3 Pejorative Style Form

Communication Re: Target Child Re: Other child
blaming
accusing
Calling names
threatening
Giving orders
lecturing/moralizing
warning
playing the martyr
comparing
being sarcastic
prophesying
questions motives
questions character
questions competence

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager communicates in a given style when talking with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-002c4 Acknowledging Style Form

Communication Re: Target Child Re: Other child
Accepts and reflects child’s feelings
States/checks child’s feelings
Active Listening
• eye contact
• nodding
• paraphrasing
• beginner’s mind
• no interruptions
Expresses child’s wishes in fantasy

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager communicates in a given style when talking with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-002c5 Other Communication Style Form

Communication Re: Target Child Re: Other child
Positive internal attributions
Humor

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager communicates in a given style when talking with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-003 Management Style Form

Style Re: Target Child Re: Other child
Authoritarian
Authoritative
Laissez Faire

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager behaves in a given style when dealing with the target child and/or with other children. When the Child Manager is talking to all children in general, it will be recorded as ‘Other Child’. If the target child is the only child in the room, all such errors are recorded as ‘Target Child’.

Inconsistent Style is an outcome of the rating of the other styles. If a Child Manager is consistent with one style across both children and time, inconsistent is not an outcome. However, a Child Manager may use different management styles with different children. This is an inconsistency of a different order than when the Child Manager uses different management styles with the same child. When the inconsistency across children occurs in the presence of the target child, however, it may have the same impact. The interpretation of the child in regard to the Child Manager’s Style is an important factor to consider. It is not the experience, but the interpretation of that experience which is important.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-004 Monitoring Style Form

Style Re: Target Child Re: Other child
asks for itinerary
checks up
spies
ignores

INSTRUCTIONS:

The Observer will record the observation on tape with the permission of those in the area. The Observer will note with a mark each time that Child Manager acts in a specific pattern.

Inconsistent Style is an outcome of the rating of the other styles. If the Child Manager is inconsistent the manner in which s/he monitors the target child’s movements and behavior, this will be noted in the final report. It should also be noted if the Child Manager uses different monitoring styles with other children.

The Observer may review his/her notation with the tape, but should NOTE all changes from the original recording.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review [including, if necessary, listening to the tape recording] the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.


CBAT#05-005 Discipline Attitude Report Form

Noun comment:

Verb comment:

This is not really an observation form, but is an inference form based on all other observations. Again, there is the possibility of an ‘inconsistent’ rating when a Child Manager vacillates in the way s/he thinks about and uses the concept of discipline.

The Observer should write out his/her understanding of how the Child Manager uses discipline and support this inference with specific observations.

The Observer, having finalized the document, may review the final data with the Child Manager to get his/her observations and, if necessary provide a commentary to, but not change, the Observer’s Report.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Observer of a Child Manager has two main functions: 1) to gather the data and 2) negotiate consensus about the implications of the data. Many parts of the observation process are ‘filtered’ by the Observer’s own mental contexts and his/her model of reality. The Observer’s model is not, of necessity, real. The entire CAST should review, discuss and make the final decisions about what the data implies in regard to the development of interventions. The failure to reach consensus is a disruption in the community itself. If this should occur, the outcome of the assessment is to implement techniques: discussion groups, mediation or arbitration, to reunite the community focus about what should occur to enable a serene community.

Many times it is the differing points of view of the community that creates the rift in the first place. How often do teacher report, for example, a disagreement with a parent about whether or not ‘Johnny’ should defend himself. One cannot assume that one child manager is right and the other is wrong. To do so merely continues the problem. The teacher and parent, with the help of the CAST, will need to find some acceptable consensus about how to proceed. The principles of good negotiation tactics will be needed to reach a win/win outcome.

In a similar manner there may be conflict between the target child and the Child Manager(s) about what should be. In the same manner, this is not to make the assumption that the child is wrong and the Child Managers right. It will require discussion.

The reports should create a creative tension that will allow for issues that may have remained hidden or embraced in conflict to be resolved. The assessor/facilitator must not take sides, for to do so is to reduce the tension and fail the resolution. The facilitator position is a focus on consensus. The facilitator is not the ‘chairperson’ who casts the tie-breaking vote, but is the catalyst to help people within the community work out their own solutions.

Part of the outcome may be intervention with primary, secondary or tertiary clients. This outcome should have the support of the target clients and the CAST alike.


CBAT#05-006 Sample Dialogue

Eliciting the inner logic of behavior

F = Facilitator
T = Teacher
M = Mother
O = Mother

Initial Inquiry

When gathering data in regard to a child’s interpersonal performance, the first area of exploration is usually to find out what s/he did? If it is a series of performances over time – what is the range of specific behaviors? We will assume that the child’s behavior is reasonably consistent over time and that we have already defined an external antecedent [giving a math test] and are now trying to establish an internal antecedent. One place to start is to ask sufficient number of questions to get a concrete functional rationale for the behavior itself.

F: When you [give the math test] what happens?

T: When this happens, s/he just goes berserk.

F: What do you mean by berserk?

T: You know – s/he can’t be controlled.

F: Does s/he hit, run, swear – what specifically does s/he do?

T: S/he swears at me and tries to hit me.

F: Does s/he swing at you and miss or does s/he swing and you grab
him/her?

T: Well, s/he doesn’t actually swing, but s/he threatens me verbally and stands up full over me.

So she says s/he is going to hit you and intimidates you by where and how s/he places his/her body.

ALL: Yes.

F: What does s/he say about the cause of this threatening behavior?

T: S/he says that I treat him/her unfair; that I don’t like him/her.

M: Yes, s/he tells me that too!

F: Do you like him/her?

T: Not when s/he threatens me that way.

F: Since s/he has threatened you in the past – is this an issue about how you react?

T: No, I don’t think so.

Okay – so we don’t think that we treat him/her unfairly, but s/he accuses us of unfairness – is that it?

ALL: Yes

So our hypothesis is that if the antecedent happens, the child threatens and intimidates because s/he believes that adults are unfair due to not liking him/her – is that it?

ALL: Yes

F: And since s/he threatens and intimidates, we have a problem. Even if the child’s belief, or inner logic, were true – that you did treat him/her unfairly, the behavior is unacceptable.

ALL: Yes

F: Then it seems that we need to [help the child ‘clarify’ his/her belief that the behavior is unfair]; work on the child’s belief that adult behavior is [not what the child wants] unfair; and also help him/her understand that even if the behavior is unfair – the response [threatening and intimidating] is not helpful to him/her in meeting his/her own personal goals. How might we do that?

M: We could talk to him/her about these feelings.

F: Do you think that might help?

T: No, s/he would just ‘clam up’.

M: Yes, when s/he is upset, I can’t get a word out of him/her.

F: What if we asked him/her for an alternative solution? What if we asked him/her what would be fair [what she wants]?

M: S/he would probably say that it would be fair not to give him/her the math test.

F: Do you think that would be fair?

ALL: No

F: Then there must be some fundamental issue underlying this sense of unfairness – don’t you think.

T: Maybe.

F: Has s/he ever said anything to any of you about what it might be that causes giving a math test to appear unfair?

M: Well s/he says s/he doesn’t like math.

F: Why is that?

M: Because s/he says s/he can’t do math.

F: Is this true?

T: I don’t think so, s/he just doesn’t want to do the work – I think s/he could do it if s/he tried.

F: So your expectation is that if s/he just tried, s/he could do it?

T: Yes.

F: I want you each to think of something that you think you cannot do – or at least cannot do well enough to do in front of other people. Maybe public speaking or singing in front of an audience. Does each of you have something in mind?

ALL: Yes

F: Now, do I have a volunteer to tell us what you are thinking?

O: Okay – I can’t sing and so I would never do so in public.

F: Would you sing for us now?

O: No – I told you I am too embarrassed because I can’t sing.

F: Yes, but you know almost everybody can sing – give it a try!

O: No

F: How does this feel to you?

O: Well, I’m a little embarrassed – I told you I couldn’t sing.

F: Might you be thinking that what I did was unfair?

O: Well maybe.

F: You certainly would think that I was unfair if I asked you to sing every time I saw you; particularly if I was somehow in charge.

O: Yes, I guess I would.

F: Depending of course on what you mean by unfair. What do you mean that what I did was ‘unfair’?

O. Well, I mean you don’t usually expect that when you admit to not being able to do something that you will then be asked to do it.

F: Why not?

O: I don’t know, it just seems, well – mean.

F: Is that what you understanding of unfair is – mean?

O: Well, no – it just something that you shouldn’t do.

F: Is that a rule – you shouldn’t do mean and unfair things?

O: Yes

F: And who creates these rules?

O: It’s just the way people should behave.

F: Do all people follow these rules.

O: No

F: So when you say “You should” do or not do something, you really mean that you would like the person better if s/he did or did not do that thing – there really aren’t any rules – just preferences?

O: I guess so.

F: And when people break your ‘shoulds’ – you get an attitude about
them.

O: Yes

F: Now your mature enough to handle this, but a child who is told over and over to do something that s/he feels incompetent to do, might develop quite an attitude over it – don’t you think so?

ALL: Yes

F: We might also want to know how intense the attitude is. When I asked you several times to sing, you became uncomfortable and perhaps somewhat angry. On a scale from one to ten, with one being annoyed and ten being enraged, how angry did you get?

O: Well, I guess about two or three – I was ready to ‘fight or flee’ – but I wasn’t quite sure how to go since I knew you were trying to get something from me.

F: So we know that it is important to find out not only how this student thinks about situations, but to find out the basic rules s/he imposes and to help him/her understand and mediate the degree of intensity of the feelings that his/her thoughts cause. So how are we going to address this?

T: Well we can’t just let him/her not do the math test.

F: Why not?

T: Because s/he has to do math to pass.

F: What if s/he doesn’t care about passing?

M: But s/he does.

F: How do you know that?

M: Because s/he says it all the time – she wants to get a diploma and go to technical school.

Okay – we have some motivation

F: What are we going to do?

O: Somehow we need him/her to change the way s/he feels.

F: And how might we do that?

O: I don’t know

F: It’s very difficult to get anyone to change the ways they feel. You feel like you feel. But what causes the feelings?

ALL: Don’t know – no, wait – you feel the way you think

F: Right – If you think that someone is unfair – how would you feel?

ALL: Probably angry

F: And if you were angry, how might you behave?

T: I might act threatening and intimidating – if I thought I could.

F: So this student, within the context of his/her inner logic, is acting somewhat appropriately?

ALL: Somewhat – but you really can’t succeed that way.

F: How might you succeed under these circumstances?

O: Well you have to face up to the trouble – talk it out!

F: But how can we expect him/her to talk to us when s/he doesn’t trust us?

ALL: Don’t know

F: There are some techniques that can help him/her analyze these thoughts for validity and change them if they are not verified.

T: What are they?

F: They are cognitive techniques that help the subject become aware of his/her thoughts, attend to them, analyze them and find alternatives. Then there is a technique to help change thoughts that don’t work.

T: Who can do these techniques?

F: Well almost anyone can do them. They require very little special knowledge except what we have here. However, there does need to be some one on one time set aside to do it.

T. Well I don’t have time to spend with one student. … Maybe we could get an aide?

O: How about the guidance counselor?

T. Yes – we could have this student see the guidance counselor once a day – how long would it take?

F. Well it shouldn’t take too long – but we would want to do some other things as well. These techniques provide learning on three levels: prevention, development and remedial. I don’t think this student needs remedial work that is usually done clinically, but we could operate on both the prevention and development levels.

M: What do you mean?

F: Well, prevention is a process of changing the culture of the environment. The present culture is not helpful to him/her – since it somehow causes discomfort and response. But by providing positive internal attributions and cognitive qualifiers and prosocial rituals, we not only help this student, but might help the whole class.

T: That sounds great, but I already have too much to do – I don’t have time to do this.

F: Well, you talk to your students while you are teaching, don’t you?

T: Yes

F: Well, for some of this we are simply meaning that you will say things differently.

T: How?

F: Well, let me use an example of a research study. This study tests three methods of helping students improve their performance in math. These methods are persuasion, reinforcement and attribution strategy. And the limits of the study were essentially that the teacher would use scripts when talking to the students.

With the persuasion strategy, the teacher would write or say: ‘You should be good at math.’ ‘You should be getting better math grades.’ ‘You should be doing well in math.’

With the reinforcement strategy, the teacher would say or write: ‘I’m proud of your work.’ ‘I’m pleased with your progress.’ ‘Excellent progress.’

With the antecedent attribution strategy, the teacher would write or say: ‘You seem to know your math assignments very well.’ ‘You really work hard in math.’ ‘You’re trying more, keep it up.

It certainly does not appear to take more time to say one script rather than the other does it?

T: No

F: Yet, there were dramatic differences in the impact on the math work – does anyone want to guess which one worked best and why?

T: Well, it should be the reinforcement strategy because that’s what we have been taught to do for a lot of years.

F: Well that strategy did work, but it was not the best one. Part of the reason is that it is a response to what has already happened, not a ‘seed’ of what might happen.

M: Well I tell my child all the time that s/he should be good at math and get better grades and that just seems to backfire.

F: Yes, well persuasion was the least effective strategy.

O: So obviously, the attribution strategy was the best.

F: And can you figure out why?

O: …………..well…………it seems as though it is telling the child that s/he is already good in math.

F: Yes – and it places the reason for that on effort – which is a controllable force. If a person thinks they can’t do something and nothing will ever change that fact – it can get very depressing. But if someone else tells them they are good at something and that they are responsible and that they work hard – it can open up a thought process that change is possible and that they have control over that possibility.

M: I could use that at home too.

F. Yes, in fact, we need to look at its use for all kids wherever they are. What do you think? Is it worth a try?

Obviously, this conversation could have gone in many different directions. This one is focused on getting the group to commit to trying some cognitive technologies and therefore focuses less on what is happening with the child than what are the concerns and thoughts of the individuals in the room. The facilitator turns the issues of thought, feeling and action back to the group and attempts to demonstrate their own processes.

At this point, the facilitator would develop a schedule to train the teacher and parents in preventative measures [cultural reconstruction] and train the guidance counselor in the cognitive techniques of perceiving reflex thoughts, altering limited thinking patterns and changing distressing thoughts.

Assessment & Verification

The facilitator has already had an initial inquiry, but since this student was considered too young [ten years old] to participate effectively, s/he was not in the meeting. S/he does, however, know that the meeting has taken place and is concerned about the outcome. The facilitator has introduced him/herself and generally tried to make the child comfortable and now is ready to start.

F: Well I guess you are wondering what we talked about?

C: You talked about how to get rid of me!

F: What do you mean?

C: I know you don’t want me in this class?

F: How do you know that?

C: I just know!

F: How do you just know?

C: They don’t like me!

F: Who are they?

C: You know – the teacher – the kids.

F: How do you know they don’t like you?

C. Just do!

F: There must be something that tells you that – you don’t read minds – do you?

C: No – it’s just the way they act?

F: And how is that?

C: What do you care?

F: I’m asking.

C: You are just like all the rest.

F: And how is that?

C: You don’t care?

F: And how do you know that?

C: Cause.

F: Do you like me?

C: I don’t know.

F: Then how do you know I don’t like you?

C: It doesn’t matter

F: How do you treat people you don’t like?

C: I ignore them.

F: What if they don’t let you ignore them?

C: Then I beat them up.

F: So I guess it does matter whether you like someone or not.

C: Yes – I guess.

F: Does the teacher ignore you or beat you up?

C: No.

F: Do the other kids ignore you or beat you up?

C: Let them try to beat me up – I’ll fix them!

F: But they haven’t tried – have they?

C: No

F: Then how do you know they don’t like you?

C: Just do.

F: Reading minds again?

C: No

F: How do you like your teacher?

C: What’s to like?

F: What do you mean?

C: S/he doesn’t like me, I don’t like him/her.

F: But so far the only evidence we have that s/he doesn’t like you is your mind reading.

C: No, I can tell

F: How can you tell?

C: By the way s/he treats me

F: And how is that?

C: Different.

F: Different than s/he treats the other kids?

C: Yeah.

F: In what way does s/he treat you different?

C: She tries to make a fool out of me.

F: I’ll bet that upsets you

C: Oh – I don’t let her get away with it – I tell her off!

F: What do you say?

C: I tell her “I will punch her lights out!’

F: How does she take that.

C: She gets mad and throws me out of class

F: And how do you feel about that?

C: I don’t care.

F: Don’t you want to pass?

C: Don’t matter.

F: Why doesn’t it matter?

C: I ain’t gonna pass.

F: But you would like to, wouldn’t you?

C: Yeah.

F: Well how can we make it possible for you to pass?

C: Don’t know.

F: Well this is what the meeting was about.

C: They don’t care if I pass!

F: How do you know that?

C: Because of the way they treat me.

F: And how is that?

C: They are always trying to embarrass me.

F. And how do they do that?

C: They give me work they know I can’t do.

F: Like math?

C: Yeah.

F: How do they embarrass you?

C: You know.

F: I am not sure I do.

C: They make me do stuff in front of the other kids so everyone will see how dumb I am.

F: Are you dumb?

C: Yeah.

F: How do you know that?

C: Cause I can’t do math.

F: Do you think everyone who can’t do something is dumb?

C: Yeah.

F: Well that means that you have an awful lot of friends.

C: What do you mean?

F: Well everyone can’t do something.

C: You know what I mean.

F: Yes – I think I do. You don’t think you can do math.

C: I can’t.

F: And since all of the other kids seem to be able to do math, you’re not like all the other kids.

C: Yeah.

F: And if you are not like all the other kids in math, you must be dumb.

C: Yeah.

F: Is that true?

C: What do you mean?

F: Can you do anything?

C: Yeah.

F: What can you do?

C: I can draw pretty good.

F: Can everyone in the class draw as well as you?

C: No.

F: So those who can’t draw must be dumb?

C: Nah – they could learn to draw.

F: How would they do that?

C: They’d just have to work at it.

F: So all it takes to draw is to draw.

C: Yeah.

F: And all it takes to do math is to do math?

C: No – it’s not that easy.

F: Well what does it take?

C: Don’t know.

F: Well would you believe me if I told you?

C: Maybe.

F: Well, I think the first thing is that you have to want to be able to do
math.

C: But I can’t.

F: But do you want to?

C: Yeah.

F: Then the next thing is to tell yourself that you can do math.

C: But I can’t.

F: But you can draw – do you tell yourself that you can draw?

C: I guess

F: Well you have to tell yourself you can do math.

C: I won’t believe it.

F: That’s okay – just tell yourself every day “I can do math” and tell yourself every time there is a test “I can do this” because I know you can do math, but there is one other thing you will have to say.

C: What is that?

F: It’s just what you said about drawing – you said – you have to work at it. So you have to say “I can do math if I just put in enough effort.” Can you do that?

C: I guess so, but it won’t do any good!

F: What won’t do any good?

C: Saying that.

F: Saying what?

C: Saying “I can do math if I just put in enough effort.”

F: Good – I knew you could.