Asking Effective Questions in Restorative Practice begins with Good Listening
Asking effective questions always begins with good listening. But sometimes people need some support to enable them to bring the material forward that you need to listen to. So asking effective questions that do not lead, direct or close down avenues that your student may wish or need to explore is important. Clarifying questions help you to gather more information about the issues, probing questions help you to get under the surface and understand the deeper themes of the issue. Analysis questions help you and the student to think about what is going on, the context, and how you, the student and the service user are all being affected by each other, and finally the action taking questions prompt movement.
- Can you help me understand…
- Tell me what you mean when you say …
- What I hear you saying is… - have I got that right?
- When you say always can you think of a time when this didn’t happen?
- When you say never can you think of a time when this did happen?
- I am confused when you say…
- I am confused by the difference between what you said and what you did. Can you help me understand…
- What do you think will happen next...?
- What happened next?
- Tell me more about …
- Can you give me an example of what you mean by…
- Can you tell me how that relates to …
- You have given me a really clear picture of X, can we flip this on its head now and tell me about Y?
- What is the worst that could happen?
- What is the best that could happen?
- What do you want the other person to feel when you do this / say this?
- How do you think they will react?
- Will that get you closer to your goal or further from it?
- What is it that makes you agree or disagree with this point of view…
- What is the underlying assumption you have here…
- What are your reasons for thinking this way…
- What are your emotional feelings about this…
- What are your rational thoughts about this…
- What is the biggest challenge for you in all of this?
- How is this different to X?
- How is this the same as Y?
- What does this remind you of and why?
- What would be the most effective response here? Why do you think that?
- How does this sit with your values?
- What went well / didn't go well about this?
- What shocked / surprised / scared / pleased / upset you?
- What is the ONE thing (ONLY ONE) that you will take away from this experience?
- What can you do to make sure the best outcome is more likely than the worst outcome?
- What if you didn’t do that?
- What if they didn’t do that?
- If you do this, what are you not doing?
- What are the alternatives if this doesn’t work in this case?
- What could you do differently or what could you adjust to gain that step closer to your goal?