What can I do to help you?
These words are hugely powerful and tragically underused at every level of the education world.
In the classroom, teachers have been taught since the dawn of time that they should be clear about their expectations. This is excellent practice; let the student know exactly what you want from her. If she has trouble meeting that expectation, be certain that you are explaining the expectation clearly. And then ask the student, “What can I do to help you?”
It may well be that the student won’t be able to tell you. That’s okay. Just asking the question signals a shift in your classroom dynamic; instead of a setting in which the teacher demands performance from a student, who is on her own to produce the required signs of learning, the Seven Words reframe the classroom as a place where the teacher and student are teamed up to conquer learning obstacles together