The Talking Method
In using the General to Specific approach, many
methods or activities may be effective. Two suggested
methods/techniques to use in your class after a critical
incident are: The Talking Method and The Drawing Method. The
following pages provide suggested questions or themes, and
Suggested questions to ask/themes to represent:
Where were you when
it (the disaster/event) happened?
What were you
Where were your
Where was your
What was your first
thought when it happened?
What did you see?
What did you hear?
What sound did it
What did you smell?
Was anyone you know
killed or injured?
What can you do now
to help others to feel better?
How did you feel?
What did other
people around you do (during, after)?
What was the
silliest thing you did?
Were you or anyone
else you know injured?
What happened to
pets or other animals around you?
What dreams did you have after it?
What reminds you of
When do you think
What do you do
differently since the event?
How do you feel
What makes you feel
How have you gotten
through rough times before?
What would you do
differently if it happened again?
How did you help
How would you help
What can you do now
to help others?
Allow for silence for those children with
low language skills, shyness,
support for these children
should accommodate the child
If a child has
low English skills, consider asking for a
translator or a
peer to help the child express in words
chance for verbal expression in any language
NOTE: As the teacher, you might think of more
questions to ask the children. Be sure your questions are
"open-ended," which means they cannot be answered by simply a
"Yes" or "No". Open-ended questions serve to facilitate verbal
Talking Method Activities
Child tells a story (allow metaphors)
or "live" a story
Have an open
discussion - using previous questions, ask for
volunteers to begin with, talk general to
drawings, etc. to facilitate discussions
Create a skit,
play or do role-playing, related to the critical
(provide "dress-up" clothes if available,
including uniforms if
possible to represent emergency workers seen
during the disaster, etc.)
Do "show and
tell" related to the event
the children about the event to make it less
talk/act about When people understand their
feelings and experiences
are normal and can be predicted (even if they
are scary feelings) they
begin to regain control
Note: Remember to keep yourself in a
facilitative/guiding role, not in a role of "control" of the
discussions/stories etc. This will be most helpful to the
children. Reassure the children by verbally acknowledging and
"normalizing" their experiences.
For some children, the talking method is not
In some cultures, talking openly is not
comfortable, appropriate (or even "polite")
have been raised in families where "talking-out
was not possible or supported
have been raised in situations where talking
not practiced or encouraged
simply prefer not to discuss their feelings
openly due to
personality type, privacy concerns or lack of
trust in the process
reasons should be respected as valid