Start a Conversation

What to ask if you want to start a conversation:

  • Tell me about your most enjoyable class. What makes it enjoyable?
  • Tell me about your least favorite class. What makes it your least favorite?
  • What are the differences between high school and university?
  • How are you adapting to the changes between high school and university?
  • What kinds of extracurricular activities have you been involved with?
  • How are you handling your course load?
  • What kinds of resources are available on campus? Have you used any?
  • What is your goal for the end of semester/end of year? How will you get there? How can I help you get there?

If you are concerned about your student’s behaviour...

  • Speak directly to your student to convey your concern.
  • Listen carefully and ask questions.
  • Be supportive and non-judgmental.
  • Provide information about resources.
  • If in doubt call Student Affairs - (902) 566-0488

Put it into action:

  • Approach
    • It is ok to ask and express concerns
    • Be specific about the behavior that concerns you.
    • “You’ve mentioned missing class a few times lately and I’m concerned about you.”
  • Listen
    • Listen attentively and have an open world view
    • Speak in private
    • Be patient and give your undivided attention
    • “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
  • Support
    • Acknowledge their thoughts and feelings in a compassionate way
    • Offer hope and reassure them you are concerned and want to help
    • “It sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed.”
  • Refer
    • Provide your student with resources.
    • Point out help is available, and seeking help is a sign of strength and courage.
    • Acknowledge that seeking help can be scary.
    • “I saw on the website they have counsellors on campus who you can talk to. Have you thought about making an appointment?”
  • If your student appears to be reluctant:
    • Offer to contact the resource to learn more about the services they offer
    • Offer to sit while they make the initial contact
    • Offer to follow with the student up but don’t insist on knowing the details
    • If the student is very reluctant, you can offer to make the initial contact while the student is present but staff will likely ask to speak to the student directly to confirm the details of the appointment
    • “I can look up the number if you would like to make the call now.”
  • If a student says “No.” to a referral:
    • Respect their decision. Accepting or refusing assistance must be left up to the student, except in emergencies when there is a physical threat
    • Don’t force the issue or trick them into seeking help
    • Leave the option for further conversations
    • “I respect your decision. I hope you will keep these options in mind. You can call me anytime you need to chat.”
       
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