Having Hard Conversations

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SAGE Publications, Jan 8, 2009 - Education - 127 pages
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For many educators, confronting a colleague about a work-related issue can be a daunting matter. This insightful book helps educators speak with clarity and courage to directly address difficult situations within their schools.

Having Hard Conversations provides an interactive, personal approach to mastering the art of challenging conversations. The author's step-by-step strategy addresses a wide range of situations, including communication with supervisees, peers, and supervisors. Emphasizing that initiative and preparation are the keys to a successful conversation, this resource includes: thought-provoking questions and first-person accounts that help educators become more self-aware, effective communicators; advice on overcoming personal hesitation about expressing concerns; guidance on identifying goals for the conversation and choosing the best "what-where-and-when" for a productive discussion; and sample scripts and practical tools to help educators prepare for the conversation.

By addressing important issues directly and professionally, educators can find self-empowerment and promote an open, healthy school environment.

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About the author (2009)

Consulting Description

Jennifer Abrams is an international educational and communications consultant for public and private schools, hospitals, universities and non-profits. She trains and coaches teachers, administrators, nurses, hospital personnel and others on successful instructional practices, new employee support, supervision and evaluation, generational savvy, having hard conversations and effective collaboration skills.

In Palo Alto USD (Palo Alto, CA), Abrams led professional development sessions and provided new teacher and supervisor trainings at both the elementary and secondary level. From 2000-2011, she was lead coach for the Palo Alto-Mountain View-Los Altos-Saratoga-Los Gatos Consortium’s Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program.

In her educational consulting work, she has presented at annual conferences such as Learning Forward, ASCD, NASSP, and the New Teacher Center Annual Symposium, as well as at the Teachers’ and Principals’ Centers for International School Leadership. Her communications consulting in the health care sector includes training and coaching work at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and Stanford Hospitals.

Her publications include Having Hard Conversations, published by Corwin Press in 2009, the chapter “Habits of Mind for the School Savvy Leader” in Art Costa’s and Bena Kallick’s book Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success, and contributions to the book Mentors in the Making: Developing New Leaders for New Teachers published by Teachers College Press. Her most recent book with co-author Valerie Von Frank, Generational Savvy: How to be Effective with Educators of All Generations, was published by Corwin Press in 2013.

She considers herself a “voice coach,” helping others learn how to best use their voices, be it in a group, in front of a classroom, coaching a colleague, in a supervisory role and most recently in writing for the stage, as she does as a Board Member of the National New Play Network. Abrams holds a Master’s degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University. 

Watch clips of Abrams' interview with NPR's Claudio Sanchez, from the ASCD Master Class Leadership Series

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