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The Quality of Our Work: Part 4

In my last post, I posited that not asking the right kind of questions and engaging the right stakeholders could impact the quality of our work and meeting the needs of our students and expectations of our teams – so I’d like to explore different kinds of questions that you might consider when working as a school-based practitioner.

The stakeholder interview is an important aspect of the ecological approach –the evidenced based assessment methodology advocated for in school practice. These interviews facilitate engagement of those who are part of a student’s sphere of influence on development and know the student best. Questioning stakeholders help to answer the “why” of a student’s performance- information you might have missed if you did not interview the stakeholders in the student’s sphere.

Different types of questions seek different information; some questions seek knowledge and look for descriptive information – “Tell me about the most challenging part of the day with the student”? Answers to descriptive questions can then lead to more structural types of questions, such as “What are some of the difficulties you see with that particular part of the day”? “What have you tried in order to make the student more successful during that activity”? “What community activity do you wish you could access for your child”?

Other pointers to consider: Are your questions open ended? Are you asking for use rather than meeting? Are our restating and summarizing to indicate you have been a good listener and ready to assist with solutions?

Are your questions relevant to the issue brought forth and will the questions help to solve the complexity of the issue?

Learning to ask the right kind of questions can assist with developing relationships with your team members including the parent/caregiver and developing as a team a forward-looking vision for the student. For more information regarding stakeholder interviews, feel free to contact me at

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