When you attend meetings with school personnel, you will meet staff who will tell you what to do and how to solve your problems (AKA Know-it-Alls).
- They view themselves as experts and do not realize how they appear to others.
- They are persistent people who will fight until they prevail.
- They will get defensive and will fight to prove they are right.
How do you deal with Know-it-Alls?
What do you do when they withhold information or refuse to provide it?
1. Use facts and information to support your requests. Review your information and check your facts for accuracy.
2. Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.
Advocates are not afraid to ask questions. When they ask questions, they listen carefully to answers. Advocates know how to use 5 Ws + H + E questions to discover the true reasons for positions the school staff takes.
- Ask questions
- Do not interrupt
- Paraphrase their points
- Show that you appreciate their knowledge
Let me make sure I understand. I think I heard you say…
5 W’s + H + E Questions
Use questions to raise issues. Use questions to move from abstract proposals to specific details.
Learn how to overcome obstacles by asking these questions:
In our Wrightslaw training programs, we emphasize (regardless how nasty someone may be acting!) the importance of –
- keeping your emotions under control
- treating others politely
You must always play the role of Ms. Manners (who merged with Peter Colombo).
Ask lots of 5 W’s + H + E questions.
When you are focused and polite, school staff begin to view you differently.
You are now Ms. Manners with a touch of Mother Theresa.
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, Chapter 5, urges parents to learn about the 5 W’s + H + E questions.
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Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2d Edition, Chapter 5