The traffic light response of 'stop-consider-respond' can be applied to different situations.

Select each of the coloured lights for more information.

Red: stop and listen

Really listen, don't just go through the motions while thinking about other things you have to do.

Pause, and allow yourself to be present and available for the student. You may have decided to make the initial approach to them yourself, rather than waiting for them to come to you. Take time to stop and focus on what you are going to do and say.

Amber: consider

Try not to just respond instantly to what you have heard.

Take a breath and pause to consider what is going on. If it is something alarming or close to home to you remember that your experience of this 'problem' may be completely different to the student's own perception. Avoid responding with your own way of thinking.

Focus on what they are telling you. Be calm and warm; remember your boundaries, but let the student know you are with them.

Green: respond

Saying something back to the student can show you have understood what has been said. Assess the urgency and immediacy of what to do next.

If necessary, find a contact for the student and follow this up by arranging to see them later with more information, if possible. Be interested in them and show you are willing to help. Acknowledge their position and bear in mind what they have said. Do not brush it off or make light of it. Remember, it is their perspective, not yours, which is important. Carry on listening and formulating a plan of action with them. Try to be as collaborative as possible.