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  • Writer's pictureGina Parker (Mullarkey)

Animal Attitudes - reflecting on different facilitation styles

We are pleased to welcome Kavin Wadhar, creator of the KidCoachApp, for our first guest blog. Kavin came across the 'Natural Questioning model' Lily Horseman , Chair of the Forest School Association and linked company 'Kindling' and I developed and adapted this approach using animals rather than Forest Schools linked treasures. Another great chance to reflect on our role as facilitators of dialogues, whether in the classroom or at home with our own children.

Hi! My name is Kavin Wadhar, Dad of 2 kids and founder of KidCoachApp – a conversation starter tool designed to help parents build key “soft” skills in their children. One area we focus heavily on is helping parents come up with good prompting questions to keep discussions and learnings flowing. Let me share one thought on this.

What’s the difference between bees, rhinos, eagles and ants?

Perhaps -‍

  • Bees are curious – investigating, probing, searching.

  • Rhinos are challenging– poking holes, pushing back, defying

  • Eagles are conceptual – elevating, thinking higher, imagining

  • Ants are collaborative – using others, open-minded, working together

When talking with our kids how we can adopt any of these different “animal” attitudes. Each has their time and place and will also depend on your particular child (you might not want to be a challenging rhino lots with a highly sensitive child!)

Let’s use the example headline question of “Should everyone give money to charity?”. This is just one of many stimulating conversation starters in the KidCoachApp.

Say we got into a good discussion about the pros and cons of this and that your child formed a view.

What are the types of prompting questions you can ask, to take the conversation deeper?

  • Curious bee: What are your thoughts on this? How did you make up your mind? How do you feel about your answer?

  • Challenging rhino: Why would some people not agree with that? In what situation is that not true? Can you convince me otherwise?

  • Conceptual eagle: Why is this an important question? What do we mean by charity? How have people’s attitudes to this changed over the years?

  • Collaborative ants: What would your friends say to this? Who else can we ask for their view? What more information would help us decide?

Full credit to this idea goes to Gina Parker (Mullarkey) and Lily Horseman who wrote a similar paper about four different types of plants. I merely adapted and refined it to be more about animals.

What I like about this approach is that you don’t need to be memorising questions. You just need to channel your inner animal, to adopt a certain attitude. In so doing the questions should come naturally.


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