How can you tell whether things are improving?
Monitoring progress is an important challenge . It enables us to
- Know what's happening
- Know how to work with others to improve what is happening
- Make it easier for the next person to have fun and do well, that is to
experience success and well-being)
1. Four starting questions
Simple questions will be useful when you are reviewing your progress as a helper:
For example, when considering how things are going for Josh there are 4 simple
questions to ask
Q1. What's working for Josh - making it easier for Josh to
experience success and well-being?
Q2. What's not?
Q3. What else might be helpful?
Q4. How do we know?
So who has the answers to these basic questions. It is most likely that
- No one has all the answers
- Everyone involved (Josh, his teachers, his family, his friends, support
professionals...) have some bits of the puzzle.
This is why conversations are so important.
Simple records in the Planner can help keep everyone better informed,
eg, in the Observations it might be worth recording "J appreciates hand signals
- "Really helpful"
2. How 'incidents' show student progress
How can you tell from the incidents whether a student is really making
progress? There are three simple questions to ask:
Q1. Are the incidents getting further apart (less frequent)?
Q2. Is Josh recovering more quickly?
Q3. Are the incidents becoming less severe?
This is often the order in which students (and adults) make progress.
Josh has been involved in a major incident does this mean that 'we are back to where we started?'. Progress is first indicated by fewer
- Perhaps this is the first incident this week - may be worth acknowledging
before the incident is addressed. This is what the "What's happening" (30
day) view in the Planner is all about
- And how long will it take for Josh to get over this incident? Perhaps some
time ago it was necessary to send Josh home for the rest of the day but now 15
minutes in Room B is enough for Josh to be able to discuss the incident with
you. That is real progress before returning to class.
- And was the incident less severe given the situation that Josh was in at
the time. How severely was he provoked for the response he made?
- It would be wise to point out to Josh that, just because we are trying
to resolve the recent serious incident, it doesn't mean that "we are back to
the beginning". That fact that this is the first such incident for some time
and also Josh is being helpful (unlike his old ways) are indicators of real
3. Share this with parents:
Lots of parents will benefit from these measures. Use them when meeting with
Teach parents to use the same measures at home. A parent whose son had thrown
a 'wobbly' the previous evening was despairing of ever making progress. When I
explained these three measures she was able to show quite clearly that
- This was the first 'wobbly' for about three weeks (previously every day or
- Her son got himself back together after about half an hour (previous hours
- And the incident wasn't quite as bad as some she could remember
Despite the previous evening's event there was good evidence of real
progress. What a relief for the parent!! And having this understanding changed
the way in which the parent responded to the incident (and more importantly to