Strength-Focused Questions

Often teachers and professionals are much better at asking questions about weaknesses rather than about strengths. The list provides an arsenal of questions that may be used to "search for strengths." These questions can also be helpful in conducting functional behavioral assessments and developing behavioral intervention plans. Professionals need to be careful not to use all of these questions but instead select the one(s) considered helpful for a given student.

After a teacher has described specific student behaviors that are interfering with classroom success and the desired behavior has been specified, the following questions may be considered:

  • If the desired behavior occurs, what is different about the time when it happens? 

  • Are there any times during the day when the student is successful in the classroom? 

  • When was the last time the desired behavior occurred? 

  • Were there any times last year or in prior years when the student was successful in school? 

  • What exactly are the circumstances under which the student is successful? 

  • When the problem is solved, what will the student be doing differently? 

  • What small step can be taken toward the goal?

Date: November/December 2000