Conferencing is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate successes, share problem solving ideas, discuss instructional strategies, discuss students and their individual needs, and plan relevant professional learning; opportunity being a key word. The use of conferencing skills effectively can lead to professional growth and success for educators. Conferencing led by emotion, an unfocused agenda, and generalities can leave the participants feeling deflated.
As professionals, educators must embrace conferencing skills and prepare for conversations to ensure goals, plans, and needs are communicated effectively. Reflecting over a conversation or conference can often lead one to wish they had said something differently or realize they forgot to share an important point. While reflective learning is a powerful tool for growth, conferencing should be approached proactively and intentionally through a set of well-rehearsed skills promoting clarity in communication.
Click on this link to learn Alison Green’s seven keys for talking to your boss designed to maximize your chances of being heard.
Click on this link to learn sixteen tips for communicating effectively with your boss provided by Employee Assistance Network.
Teachers: Use these helpful tools and hints to hone your communication skills and plan a successful conference with your administrator.
Follow this link to explore Veteran Affairs’ tips for talking about career development inclusive of career development, career awareness, goal setting, skill development, and coaching tips.
Follow this link to learn simple points that will strengthen communication about improvement planning and professional growth.
Follow this link for a legal perspective on evaluations involving performance standards and goals, tracking employee performance, giving the evaluation, and evaluation tips.
Click on this link to engage with research that provides teacher perspectives on effective instructional leadership. Focus on the results of this research article identifying two themes: talking with teachers to promote reflection and promoting professional growth.
Use the helpful hints, suggestions, and research themes to reflect on your conferencing skills in providing your teachers with a fair and valid growth evaluation. Each of the links provide simple and succinct ideas that will improve your communication skills when implemented!
Follow this link to Learning Forward’s “Tools for Schools” publication with a focus on addressing teacher concerns. Karel Holloway provides you with a summary of CBAM, Concerns Based Adoption Model, that offers a way to understand, then address educators’ common concerns about change. Understanding leads to strong communication! Read the article, reflect on the seven stages of concern, and consider how to address individual concerns.
Follow this link to the Consortium on Chicago School Research’s new teacher evaluation process. Focus on Chapter 4 where “principals and teachers talk about instruction”. Chicago utilizes Danielson’s framework for quality teaching and maximizes her research to strengthen collaborative conversations between teachers and principals. The strength of the conversation is dependent upon both the teacher and the administrators’ questioning techniques.
Administrators and Teachers:
Read and reflect about the ideas and content of both resources as you consider your school setting Allow your thoughts to process the stages of concern and use the information as you have conversations to address individual concerns; be intentional and reflect over the process to strengthen your understanding of collegial communication. Begin to self-evaluate your questioning technique when you communicate with colleagues and reflect over Danielson’s framework through the lens of Chicago’s research. Remember, communication involves a set of skills that strengthen understanding and language. Clear communication leads to a positive and productive conference.