The Monkey Room

The quality of Rice's academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What perspective do you feel that you will contribute to life at Rice?


“I want to go to the Monkey Room!”

Slightly exasperated, I look down at the screaming six-year-old child and try desperately to remember the training on “collaborative problem solving.”

Step One: Find a place of empathy with the child.

“You really want to go to the Monkey Room, don’t you Jordan? That does sound like loads of fun. I really like the Monkey Room too!”

“Yeah, I want to go to the Monkey Room right now!” shouts Jordan, still throwing his arms in the air.

Step Two: Express your concerns.

“The Monkey Room really does sound like fun, but my concern is that it’s art time right now, and we need to stay with Teacher Ben [the therapist].”

“But I want to go to the Monkey Room!”

Step Three: Indirectly ask the child for a possible solution that meets both his and your needs.

“Well, Jordan,” I pause to make sure I still held his attention. “I wonder if there’s anything we can do so we can both get what we want.”

“Yeah, we can go to the Monkey Room because I really like the Monkey Room.”

Step Four: If unable to reach an acceptable solution, find the underlying cause of the misbehavior.

“So, Jordan.” I pause again for another attention check. “What do you like to do in the Monkey Room?”

“Well, I really like to play baseball,” stammers...

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