The Best Way to Help Students Succeed

All teachers and parents want to help students succeed. The question is: How? Research shows that one of the most important factors that determine students’ success (in terms of what is important to students) is their feeling or belief that someone in school cares about them.

Knowing this, I’ve long proposed that the best way to help students succeed is to ask them questions. Why? Because a significant factor in asking a question is that there is an assumption that you care about the person with whom you are conversing.

Therefore, when communicating with others, especially students, instead of thinking of the right thing to say, think of a question to ask. The sooner you adopt the mode of asking questions (versus telling and lecturing) the less stressful it will be for you and the more successful you and the other person will become.

Questions Help Students Succeed

Asking reflective questions prompts the other person towards the evaluation of their actions. Here are three reflective questions that can help you influence students:

  • Is there any other way this could be handled?
  • What would a responsible action look like?
  • What do you think an extraordinary person would do in this situation?

Remember that people change themselves. And the most effective approach to influence others TO WANT TO CHANGE is through a non-coercive approach. The most effective non-coercive strategy is through prompting the person to reflect by asking questions.

Tip: When you do the talking, who does the thinking? When you do the asking, who does the thinking? Focus on making students think and you’ll help them succeed.