Having Hard Conversations

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SAGE Publications, Jan 8, 2009 - Education - 127 pages
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Speak with clarity, confidence, and courage!

Many educators struggle with discussing difficult issues with colleagues. This insightful book helps readers effectively lead challenging conversations with supervisees, peers, and supervisors. Emphasizing initiative and preparation as keys to a successful conversation, the author’s step-by-step approach provides:

  • Thought-provoking questions and first-person accounts that help build communications skills
  • Advice on overcoming personal hesitation about expressing concerns
  • Guidance on goal setting and choosing the best “what-where-and-when” for a productive discussion
  • Sample scripts and other interactive tools to help educators prepare for the conversation and achieve positive outcomes

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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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