Teaching Toward Solutions

A solution focused guide to improving student behaviour, grades, parental support and staff morale

By: Linda Metcalf


Products specifications
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Size: 297mm x 210mm
Pages : 248
ISBN : 9781904424079
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2003

This book offers teachers a positive alternative for students with challenging behavioural issues and poor results. The techniques and strategies included are practical and clearly presented. Ideal for newly qualified and student teachers as well as experienced teachers looking for an effective solution-based approach.

Sections include:

  • How to create a motivational atmosphere
  • Stopping behavioural problems before they begin
  • Conducting meetings with resistant parents
  • Dealing with ADD, anger, abuse, school phobias and depression
  • Discipline
  • Creating opportunities for students to change their reputations and improve
  • Packed with down-to-earth examples and genuine case studies
  • Full of useful handouts for teachers
  • Photocopiable resources enclosed

Reprint of second edition, original ISBN 0615121535, printed 1999.

Picture for author Linda Metcalf

Linda Metcalf

Linda Metcalf, PhD is a former teacher, school counselor and coordinator for safe and drug free schools in Mansfield ISD, Texas, USA. She consults with schools throughout the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. Linda Metcalf PhD is Director and Professor of the Graduate Counseling Program at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, TX. She can be reached at lmetcalf@txwes.edu for training invitations.


  1. In my own mind there is a vast difference between training and teaching ” for me teaching is imparting facts and figures whereas training involves both teaching and active learning, and Linda Metcalfe's book on moving toward solutions in my mind embraces both. So it is with great enthusiasm that I review a book that actually addresses the solutions to “teaching challenges' appearing more and more regularly within the schooling system.

    The fact that Linda has understood that everyone's behaviour is as a result of many different sources is encouraging. Trying to put all children or adults into one learning box is going to ask for challenges.

    NLP has demonstrated capably that our behaviour is directly linked to what each individual perceives of the world through the five senses and more importantly through our languaging. In the current system in the rush to get from A-Z in a school curriculum, many teachers are oblivious to the fact that their teaching and languaging methods are not empowering the students to the joy of learning.

    Thus having a manual presented by Linda Metcalfe as “solution' orientated is welcome and timely for those teachers who are dedicated and serious to ensuring their teaching practices are reaching the majority of students within their classroom.

    As a trainer for “demonstrating how to learn more effectively' the book holds some excellent concepts that even I had not considered when it comes to behavioural mechanisms demonstrated by my participants. And what is more important is the encouragement Linda has written about in terms of persistence of “reaching out' to the students. The sure sign of a successful person in any field.

    The role plays, the scenarios and case studies are all well written and amply demonstrate the need for the world of education to become more in alignment with personal development rather than just imparting of facts and figures which have little impact in terms of life skills.

    Working towards solutions is leading by example and also having the compassion to “touch, move and inspire' another into their greatness through their own abilities to learn effectively. This book allows the teacher and student to take responsibility for their own actions and reactions whilst at the same time developing rapport, creativity, communication par excellence and much much more.

    This is not a bedtime story ” however in terms of those who are serious about understanding how to create the best possible solution for those challenges whether training or teaching ” this book is an enjoyable read offering suggestions and points to consider that will literally allow both the teacher/trainer and student to fulfill their potential at an even greater level.
  2. Packed with down-to-earth examples and genuine case studies, Teaching Towards Solutions offers a refreshing, hopeful and original approach to student behaviour.

    It's based on a simple yet profound idea: notice, and ask students to notice, what's happening when they are behaving well ” then recreate the conditions. Sounds easy, but the approach requires you to view problems, pupils and even yourself differently. Fortunately, the book shows you how by providing all the language tools you'll need to turn yourself and your students around. The result? Transformed attitudes, relationships and behaviour.

    Linda Metcalf's extensive experience as a family counsellor and teacher shines through. The method she describes with such conviction and detail avoids binding systems and restrictive rules. It liberates teachers to be creative and calls on students to use their self-knowledge to devise personal behaviour strategies. Teaching Towards Solutions provides an uplifting and motivating approach to the most difficult aspect of any teacher's job. Read it!
  3. Teaching Toward Solutions has been created for teachers to help improve pupil behaviour, grades, parental support and staff morale using methods with a positive emphasis.

    Techniques and strategies are suggested that give teachers positive ways of working with pupils to handle behavioural issues and poor results. The focus is on solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves and thus encourages teachers to identify children's abilities and strengths in order to build on these examples of success.

    Separated into sections the text covers creating a motivational atmosphere, stopping behavioural problems, meeting with parents, discipline and creating opportunities for pupils to improve. The techniques are well supported by case studies and practical examples to aid understanding.

    Newly qualified and student teachers will find this an ideal source of advice and this may also be a useful source of new ideas for more experienced teachers.
  4. This is a well detailed with plenty of real life examples of how a solution focused approach can help improve behaviour. This approach wrong foots students who are so used to having their problems analysed, by finding the exceptions to the problem, new interventions are generated. It provides user friendly scripts as -˜aide memoirs' to help the practitioner get started.

    It provides throughout the tools to enable school staff to explore a novel approach to “problem solving” through finding the exceptions - that is when the problem is less severe. The model enables learners and parents to become part of the solution rather than seeing themselves as part of the problem. Because of our over reliance on believing that the only way to solve a problem is to focus exclusively on the problem we miss those small signs of improvements that happen constantly. Change is inevitable, but it it can be slow and small, and if we are not careful we miss signs of the solution because we are only looking at the problem. This book offers school practitioners activities to experiment with and ways to prevent the child being seen as the problem, the problem is the problem, not children.

    One of the best practical accounts of Solution Focussed Interventions for school staff available.

    An excellent book that shows forcefully why -˜fighting fire with water', is always the bets solution.

    This book provides the tools to help school staff “catch em being good”, a sound philosophy that needs practical muscle to make it work. Teaching towards Solutions, provides the muscle

    Solution Focussed approaches in Education are much talked about, this book has something for school managers, classroom practitioners as well individual students. A book for the staff room reference shelf.
  5. Teaching Toward Solutions, written for teachers at any stage of their career, was initially meant for American classrooms. The spelling has not been anglicised and neither has the terminology - hence students -˜turn in' their homework and are -˜seniors' rather than sixth formers.

    Some of the suggested solutions for getting difficult students on side come across as a little too sugary for the cynical British palate. An example is given of a teacher passing a disruptive student a note saying, “You remind me of a bright student I had a few years ago ... he wasn't quite sure how to show me his abilities at first, but I knew he had lots of potential. Whenever you are ready to show me, I'm here.”

    But some interesting strategies are suggested for dealing with confrontational students. Examples are given of how changing tack or doing something unpredictable can often change the attitude of a challenging student and how letting the student know that the teacher is committed to solving the problem can work better than focusing on letting them know who is in charge.

    Innovative ideas are presented for raising the self-esteem of low-achieving students. There are also methods suggested for a teacher to analyse their own teaching practice to get better results. The whole focus of the book is on coming up with strategies for solutions to help classes and individual students to succeed where they have failed before.
  6. This is a book packed with wisdom, detailed approaches to conflict resolution and 'historical' accounts drawn together to illuminate the path to the successful management of behaviour and change. I found it highly readable, revelatory, in parts movingly funny and yet all the time studiously observant and convincing, defining the exasperations that educators, parents and managers of people face when dealing with the assertive and disenchanted young.

    Linda Metcalf presents a joyously eclectic celebration of good practice which she rationalises into 'towards solutions' systems, defining its success according to her highly intelligent and optimistic end-vision. As a parent and teacher I will take away bags of tips, structures and good practical ideas and my own thinking about behaviour management will certainly never be the same again.

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