Yesterday, in a presentation, I was shown a video fragment of Michele Pfeiffer, who played the part of LouAnne Johnson, a teacher in a difficult inner city school. The video showed a situation in which there is palpable tension in the class room. Here is the video, I found it on Youtube. I was particularly interested in the situation in which the teacher is talking to the girl. It starts at 1:42. The girl says the teacher doesn't understand. The teacher asks: "Do you have a choice to get on that bus?" The girl challenges that she actually has a choice. After that, the teacher emotionally explains how the girl in fact has a choice. After that, the students become silent. It is an impressive fragment. The confrontational and convincing style did seem to work in this situation.
A solution-focused approach might have been interesting too, in this situation. In that case, the teacher might have listened, acknowledged what the students would have said and then might have said things like: "Yes, I understand that it must be really hard to live there and to get on that bus every day like you do. And while it is so hard and it would have been easy for you not to get on that bus and to start selling drugs or killing people ... you still manage to get on that bus. ... Can you explain that to me? What makes you decide to get on that bus every day?"
That might have been interesting, too.