You know that moment when you're sitting in a meeting at school with a student, both parents, plus two interventionists, and the whole thing feels like the slow demise of the Titanic? Everybody's leaking desperation, except perhaps the student who's mostly just drowning miserably.
Well, I noticed (evidence for my hypothesis that blogging daily for #sol16 is honing my noticing) two moves that incrementally changed a meeting's tide yesterday. Move #1: With as little judgment as possible, I started describing the student's habits I had observed and asked her about the accompanying feedback loops of cues and rewards that she felt. (I learned about that recently from journalist Charles Duhigg and have lately been applying some of his ideas to eyeballing with eighth graders our reading habits or lack thereof.) Then, together with the student and the other adults in the room, we began to consider what new, more productive habits might yield similar or even more desirable rewards, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Soon, we had more dialogue than desperation.
Move #2: After the student shared that drawing was a strength and interest, I shared a little about SketchNotes, along with an example I had made during the meeting. The student's smile inflated like an emergency life raft. "Yeah, I could try that," she said.
The fate of the ship remains in question, of course, but we have new buckets and purpose.