MPA workshop on having hard conversations in education

Courage.  It’s perhaps the most essential ingredient of a successful performance evaluation and professional growth system, and yet, it is one element that cannot be legislated.

After the laws have passed, the rules have been adopted and the work of development is complete, teachers and school leaders will need to begin the process of examining their practices in ways unprecedented for many from opening classroom doors to peers and administrators to sharing plan books and lessons with mentors to revealing the results of a student or parent survey.

At the center of all this activity and the key to its success is meaningful, constructive conversation that takes not only courage but skill. How does a superintendent tell a principal that the faculty meeting could have been more productive? How does a principal tell a teacher that half the class was texting during silent reading? How does the teacher explain to a peer that the lesson is not aligned with the learning goals?   More important, how does one, in having these difficult conversations, inspire reflection and growth rather than incite fear and defeat?

Fortunately, there are answers to these questions, specific approaches and ways of thinking that can facilitate the kind of constructive conversation that leads to desired outcomes.

On Monday, April 7, the Maine Principals Association will host a day-long workshop in Augusta led by teacher turned international educational and communications consultant Jennifer Abrams, author of Having Hard Conversations. Designed for principals, assistance principals, curriculum coordinators, special education directors, superintendents, assistant superintendents, teacher leaders and instructional coaches, the interactive workshop will focus on how to successfully communicate with supervisees, peers and supervisors in a wide range of situations.

Participants will learn how to design questions to ask themselves before they speak up, articulate in professional language the challenges they are facing, determine the goals of the conversation, script the conversation to avoid trigger words that put others on the defensive and choose the best time and place for productive discussion. Those who attend will leave able to speak with clarity and courage to directly address difficult situations within their schools.

For more information and online registration, visit the MPA website or click here.

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