ICPS Dialoguing

Unique feature of ICPS is ICPS dialoguing. ICPS dialoguing is a two-way conversation, between adult and child, which helps the child become an active participant in problem-solving. During dialoguing, teachers help children use concepts taught in the formal lessons to solve problems they experience during the school day. Dialoguing helps children associate how they think with what they do and how they behave.

The ICPS dialoguing ladder is a visual representation of four styles of communicating about problems. It is used as an instructional tool to help teachers become aware of their own communication practices and how their communication practices can be improved. When teachers use ICPS dialoguing, the problem-solving level of communication, the result is an improved classroom climate with less conflict and more cooperation.

Rung 4: Problem Solving Approach.
Using specific questions, adult prompts the child to think about the problem, how s/he and others feel, and identify possible solutions and their potential consequences before making a choice. Given skills to think for themselves, children feel empowered, not overpowered, are more likely to carry out their own solutions, and think of genuinely empathic consequences.

Rung 3: Explaining Approach.
Adult explains what might happen if a child chooses a particular solution. Again, while a positive approach, the thinking about potential consequences is done by the adult. Child may tune out explanations heard many times before, or because s/he is unable to understand them.

Rung 2: Suggesting Approach.
Adult provides suggestions to children to promote socially adjusted behaviors. While this approach is positive, it is the adult who is doing the thinking for the child. Suggestions can stifle the child’s thinking and the child may not think of what else to do if a solution is unsuccessful.

Rung 1: Power Approach.
Adult gives orders or makes demands to elicit changes in the child’s behavior. Behavior change is motivated by the external source, rather than the child’s internal processes. The child may comply to avoid punishment, but may still feel angry or frustrated, and may become immune to feeling overpowered.

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