Collaborate Problem-Solving Approach

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Tip of the Month:
June, 2018

The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach is an approach developed by Ross Greene and J. Stuart Ablon that is aimed to reduce adversarial relationship between adults and students.

The approach views problem behaviours as an attempt by the student to solve a problem in the face of missing skills, such as social skills, executive skills, language skills, and other skills.

When a student presents a challenging behaviour towards an expectation given by an adult, there are three ways an adult can react to it.

Plan A:

Continue to impose adult will and expectations: “You must do it!”, “Stop it!”, “Because I said so!”

ADVANTAGES
• Continue to pursue adult expectations

DISADVANTAGES
• Does NOT decrease problem behaviour
• Does NOT teach missing skills
• Does NOT result in lasting solution to the problem
• Does NOT create a ‘positive’ relationship between adult & student

Plan B:

Collaborative problem-solving approach
Mutually satisfactory & realistic solution to both parties

ADVANTAGES
• Continue to pursue adult expectations
• Decreases problem behaviour
• Creates a ‘positive’ relationship between adult & student
• Teaches missing skills to the students
• Results in a durable solution to the problem

DISADVANTAGES
• NONE!

Plan C

Drop the expectation for the time being

“You can do it later”, “You don’t have to do it”
ADVANTAGES

• Decreases problem behaviour
• Creates a ‘positive’ relationship between adult & student

DISADVANTAGES
• Expectations are NOT met
• Does NOT teach missing skills
• Does NOT result in a lasting solution to the problem

As you can see from the chart above, the Plan B approach results in the best outcome for both the student and the adult involved in the situation.

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