Why do meetings matter?

Hours of working time are spent in meetings and many of the most important decisions for our students and families are made in these spaces. Ineffective meetings can be costly, demotivating and detrimental to building relationships between staff and families. Studies have repeatedly shown that employees consider the time spent in a significant proportion of meetings to be poorly used. More effective meetings can bring positive results for schools and the students they support.

What does it mean to be therapeutic?

Being therapeutic is an approach that places the thoughts and feelings of the student and family at the centre, and tries to prevent difficult dynamics by considering all sides of a situation. The nature of something being therapeutic implies that it is healing. The very idea of a meeting that can provide healing solutions to problems should be kept in mind.

Why is it important to build connections with families and students?

Studies have shown that students who feel supported by school staff perform better academically and have fewer behavioural difficulties. Better connections also encourage the student’s wider family to be involved and outcomes improve when that happens.

Am I qualified to lead a meeting that is therapeutic?

Anyone can work therapeutically and you may find that you already do. This simply means really considering the feelings and concerns of the other people in the meeting alongside reflecting on your own.

Is there a danger of meetings turning into therapy sessions using this approach?

Teachers and other school staff are not therapists and this guide does not advocate for school staff to take on a therapy role. Holding boundaries and reflecting on how you will do this before the meeting starts will ensure that you are able to keep the focus of the meeting on the agenda and create achievable goals that are explicitly stated. Think of this as an incredibly positive way to add another tool to your arsenal for meetings.

I feel that my meetings are already impactful. How can this guide help me?

Pedagogy has already combined knowledge from social science, psychology and child development to help form key ideas that teachers use in the classroom. Reviewing how theories of psychotherapy can support students may be a new avenue you are yet to explore. If you feel that this work is impactful, it might be helpful to reflect on why and share that best practice with others. The science and practical studies in this guide might provide the evidence you need to demonstrate your impact to others.

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