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Giving Advice to Children Using Parallel Speaking
The Psycho-Educational Teacher
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Teachers can enhance their communication and persuasion skills by indirectly giving advice, embedding commands, and giving suggestions via stories. Therapeutic storytelling, or storytelling that soothes and heals troubling feelings, has a strong metaphoric and symbolic component. To be able to influence children, the elements in the metaphor or the aspects of the symbol must correspond to elements or aspects of the child’s experience. A psycho-educational teacher knows how to use symbolism to expand and enrich meaning, or to reframe (create a new meaning) how an angry, sad, or insecure child understands and interprets the conflictive event (Mahony, 2003). In parallel speaking, the teacher does not talk directly about the event, but tells the child or the class a story that includes key elements of the event or conflict; that is, the story parallels the child’s experience of the event. According to Mahony, when we present the event as a story, this brings a whole host of different meanings and new associations to re-interpret the actual event. In using parallel speaking, the psycho-educational teacher advices indirectly by using metaphors or analogies; the story brings new insights as the child compares and expands mentally the different aspects of the metaphor with the real event.
or feel insecure about how to deal with a particular situation. . from embarrassing to challenging. e. and when the meaning of the event changes.e. as long as the conflict and the child’s feelings about the conflict reflect or parallel each other from the story to the actual event. A variation of parallel speaking is the reflective story. we can put our story character in a sports setting. telling the child a story about another child from a similar background. When we are telling the therapeutic story. . When a teacher or parent guides children in changing the original frames they put on troubling events (e. In other words. The metaphor will be the journey from the present state (problem) to the desired state (resolution). making sure that we keep the same relationship between elements from the actual event to the story’s event. setting.g. metaphors are reframing devices that tell. To create a successful metaphor. but this time. the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan. the same age and gender. we connect the problem in the story with a strategy (coping resource) that leads the story character to the desired state or resolution. According to O’Connor and Seymour (2002). we are not only distracting the child.g. the original meaning also changes. We can change the context. that is. Another variation of this technique is having children analyze metaphors and analogies already contained in children’s classical stories. troubling feelings and acting-out responses to the event change too. The authors recommend that we develop a context (i. for example. we interpret it as an embarrassing event. that is dealing with the same problem the child is confronting. we plot the story so that it has the same form as the present problem or state. but we are also helping him or her activate a deeper search for meaning and coping resources. For instance. problem. so we feel humiliated and embarrassed). for example. “This could mean that…” The meaning of an event depends on the frame we put in (our interpretation of the event. The metaphor helps the student understand the problem by relating it to what the child already knows. or from hopelessness to problem solving). or discussing how the slow turtle managed to defeat the speedy rabbit. the relationship between the elements in the story mirrors the relationship between the elements in the problem. both the child and the story character are dealing with feelings of jealousy. characters. one that leads to the resolution of the conflict or problem. resolution) for the therapeutic story and then use key elements in the actual problem to tell the story.O’Connor and Seymour (2002) define a metaphor as a story with many levels of meaning and interpretation.
Carmarthen. O’Connor. The Psycho-Educational Teacher. Her classroom background. in New York City and her native Puerto Rico.References Mahony. & Seymour.” To preview her books and download the free eguide. resource room teacher. “The Psycho-Educational Teacher. Carmen has taught at all grade levels. Reyes. and educational diagnostician. You can read the complete collection of articles on Scribd or her blog. About the Author Carmen Y. from kindergarten to post secondary.” visit Carmen’s blog. “Persuasive Discipline: Using Power Messages and Suggestions to Influence Children Toward Positive Behavior. She also has extensive graduate training in psychology (30+ credits). J. Carmen has a bachelor’s degree in psychology (University of Puerto Rico) and a master’s degree in special education with a specialization in emotional disorders (Long Island University. Carmen is the author of 60+ books and articles in child guidance and in alternative teaching techniques for students with low academic skills. (2003). J. Words work! How to change your language to improve behaviour in your classroom. Brooklyn: NY). T.. (2002). Wales: Crown House. and in teaching students with learning or behavior problems. includes ten years teaching emotionally disturbed/behaviorally disordered children and four years teaching students with a learning disability or low cognitive functioning. She is an expert in the application of behavior management strategies. Hammersmith. Introducing NLP: Psychological skills for understanding and influencing people. London: Harper Element. . has more than twenty years of experience as a self-contained special education teacher.