ABSTRACT

It immediately caught my eye as I looked over the referral form from Ms. Kent, a fourth-grade teacher who requested assistance with one of her students. The first question asked for a problem description and reason for referral. Ms. Kent’s response filled the space beneath the question and half of a second sheet of paper that was attached to the referral form. Her response to the next item, which inquired about the student’s strengths, included two words-beautiful hair. This is a striking example of the difference between people’s response to problem-based and strength-based questions. But Ms. Kent is not alone. Her responses illustrate a common tendency of people who are struggling with difficult problems-a tendency to focus on the problem rather than the solution and on what is wrong rather than what is right with students.