Getting Help & Support

Practicing positive strategies for seeking help and finding support to enhance students social support networks and increase their motivation.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Effective help seeking involves a number of strategies designed to engage and motivate a potential helper, make the helping task easier for both helper and asker, and if useful, develop a positive relationship with helpers so they will continue to be a part of the student's support network.

Method Components

The educator leads students through an activity in which students help one another complete a task. Students identify possible barriers to assistance as well as strategies for helping one another. The educator records helpful interactions and students reflect upon them after the completion of the activity. These activities can be done in small groups or in whole-group instruction.

Suggested help-seeking strategies

The strategies below can increase the success of the help seeking and getting process:

  • Be aware of any barriers to asking for help you might have, and remember that getting help can be a powerful learning tool and a social connector if done well.
    • If you're afraid of not looking smart in front of others, seek help in a more private setting.
  • Make sure you're asking the right person for the help you need.
    • If you are seeking help from someone for the first time, spend a little time researching the background and expertise of the potential helper.
  • Be courteous and supportive of the person you're seeking help from.
    • Start with a small bit of praise or appreciation before diving into asking for help.
  • Quickly outline what you already understand, then what you think you need help with.
    • Be very specific about where you have a misunderstanding or confusion so that the helper can more quickly get to the help you need.
  • Be very clear about the problem you're trying to solve or the question you have.
    • If possible, say what kind of question you need answered for instance, a clarifying question, a process question, an informational question, a wondering question.
  • Use visuals or diagrams to explain what you need help with.
  • Listen very carefully, look the helper in the eye, and ask short clarifying or follow-up questions if necessary.
  • Thank your helper for their help and be specific about how their help is improving your understanding and skills.
  • If you want to keep your helper as part of your ongoing support network, ask permission to seek help from them again, emphasizing how helpful they have been so far.

Suggested preparation

Students discuss why it can be so difficult to ask for help and what can be done to make asking for help more effective, productive, and enjoyable; they make a list of effective help-seeking strategies they have used or observed.

Suggested review

Students discuss how their process for asking for help and support has improved and describe the lessons learned from using the help-seeking strategies.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Help seeking can be a highly positive adaptive strategy for learning if students can overcome perceived social barriers and apply a few effective strategies, such as asking well-formed questions and expressing gratitude for the help; these strategies can improve the productivity, usefulness, and enjoyment of the helping process and support the growth of useful social support networks.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to build proficiency in getting help and support to improve learning? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the getting help and support activity, and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, and other media) that demonstrate progress toward the getting help and support competency, including items such as evidence of discussions about help seeking, videos or audios of actual student help-seeking sessions, evidence of improvements in students’ help-seeking skills, examples of how students’ learning has improved from being better able to get the help and support they need, and other relevant items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the getting help & support activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did the getting help and support activities help you feel more comfortable and effective in getting the learning support you need?
  • How did the help-seeking strategies change your attitude toward the value of engaging helpers in your learning and growing a strong support network of learning helpers?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the getting help and support activity?
  • How will your experience of these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Getting Help & Support
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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