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• School staff occasionally need to elicit narrative accounts about serious events.
• Best practice questioning strategies for school staff are provided.
• Interview excerpts are included for illustrative purposes.
• The importance of non-suggestive open-ended questioning is emphasized.
This paper provides interview strategies for teachers who talk to children about serious events, including bullying, truancy, and suspected maltreatment. With regard to the latter, teachers are among the largest group of professionals reporting child abuse, but also tend to evince low substantiation rates. We review research on best practice interviewing, with a focus on its application in school settings. Interview phases are described chronologically, with interview excerpts included for illustrative purposes. Gaps in knowledge about the appropriateness of techniques are highlighted, and recommendations for future research specifically within the school setting are made. It is proposed that teachers receive basic training in best practice interviewing so that, when required, they can confidently ask about difficulties in children's lives while minimizing the potential for contamination of children's responses.
Journal: Children and Youth Services Review - Volume 63, April 2016, Pages 83–92