Over the years, teaching colleagues, students’ parents and my own family and friends have often asked what the ‘best’ way is to promote this or prevent that when it comes to behaviour, development or learning. Sometimes, but not always, the question is one that I’ve handled before, or frequently faced myself. We all know that every human is a unique individual, and that no two combinations of personality and circumstance are likely to be completely identical, so I must suppress my impulse to respond immediately in an effort to please.
If we are to make the most suitable recommendations in any situation, we need as much relevant background information as possible. This might involve finding the answers to questions that may at first seem unrelated. It may be necessary to cast the net wider and ask similar questions of other family members, educators or specialists. It is likely that, to enable a properly considered response, the individual under discussion should be consulted and observed, preferably in the setting where the concerns are noted.
This all sounds rather convoluted, but it’s generally what needs to happen if practical, practicable advice is to be provided. The answer: well that’s more in keeping with Occam’s razor – the simplest intervention, with the fewest assumptions made, is usually the best. Oh, and sometimes there’s nothing to do but be patient, and that’s a good thing.