Plan B in Action

If you've explored the Why Solve Problems Collaboratively? page, then you know that Plan B is one of the key elements of the model. But, like any new skill, Plan B can be tough to master early on. So it may be helpful to watch examples, and this section includes streaming video to show you what Plan B looks like (and how it can go awry). The current video examples focus on school situations, but they're useful for parents to watch as well (examples of what Plan B looks like at home are coming soon).

Drilling for Information

The goal of the Empathy step is to achieve the clearest possible understanding of a kid's concern or perspective on a given unsolved problem. And while kids are usually happy that adults are finally interested in their concerns, it's not always easy for them to provide adults with sufficient information. That's when you'll need to "drill" for more information. Drilling for information is the hardest part of the Empathy step...this video provides you with an example of what it looks like.

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Plan B Goes Awry -- Part 1

Plan B doesn't work very well if you're really using Plan A. And oftentimes, adults are certain they already know what a kid's concern is, so they don't put any effort into figuring it out. Sometimes, the concerns of the two parties aren't clear enough to begin considering potential solutions. And sometimes adults do a great job of getting concerns on the table but then unilaterally solve the problem anyway. You'll see these common patterns depicted in this video.

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Plan B Goes Awry - Part 2

Plan B can also go awry if the two parties agree on a solution that isn't realistic and mutually satisfactory. In this video, you'll see a teacher doing a great job of clarifying the student's concerns (in the Empathy step), then doing a fine job of clarifying his own concerns (in the Define the Problem step), but then agreeing on a solution that isn't especially realistic. Take a look.

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Silence

It's not uncommon for kids to respond to the "What's up?" of the Empathy step with silence. And it's not uncommon for adults to be uncomfortable with the silence and to "fill the void" with their own words. As shown in this video, you'll want to resist that temptation and give the kid a chance to think.

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