Communication Toolbox Seminar

Posted on 12/23/2022 @ 05:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

Photo courtesy of Joseph Zolobczuk of YES

Don’t you wish that someone could just hand you the exact right tool you need to be able to communicate with ease during difficult conversations? It would be like having Dear Abby, Carolyn Hax and Emily Post all rolled all in one!
Now imagine you are the Director of a school for Early Childhood Education.
In the course of any given day, you must have important and sometimes delicate conversations with teachers, children, parents, rabbis, executive directors, among others.
Some conversations are positive and upbeat. Others are difficult and strained.
Above all, the one skill that all educators of any age group of learners must have in their education strategies “tool box” is clear communication, especially around speaking and listening skills.
Most of us have no problem speaking to people when our messages are nurturing and uplifting.
However, often times, conversations Early Childhood Education (ECE) directors need to have, especially with parents, are difficult for numerous reasons.
Here’s an example of a potential conversation between an ECE director and a parent:
The director needs to inform a parent that they are observing concerning behavior by their child. This conversation often includes a description of the behavior, possible reasons for the behavior and strategies for how to address the behavior. In some cases, various types of testing are suggested and/or ideas of what parents can be doing at home to redirect the concerning behavior.
Imagine a parent listening to and receiving this information. (Maybe you are that parent or were that parent once!)
As a parent, you might feel relief and elation that the teachers are observing and reacting to the same things that are of concern to you.
If so, the conversation between director and parent could go very smoothly, since the director and parent are on the same page. Having the conversation strengthens their relationship as they put plans in place that benefit the child.
Conversely, as a parent, you might feel confusion, dismay, fear or anger that the teachers are observing and reacting to things that you are unaware of or in denial about or not seeing at home in the same way.
If so, the conversation between director and parent could become very difficult, since the director and parent are not on the same page. Having the conversation provokes negative reactions from the parent and may strain the relationship between parent and director.
That is why CAJE scheduled a recent professional development opportunity for our ECE directors centered on sharpening good communication skills.
Led by facilitators from the YES Institute, directors spent an entire day this month participating in the COMMUNICATION TOOLBOX seminar.
Together, they shared examples of the difficult conversations they have had to convene between parents and teachers and then dissected how they feel when engaging in conversations that have turned unproductive.
Directors learned ways to reframe a conversation that considers everyone’s desires and goals so everyone speaking and listening feels heard.
Most importantly, the directors articulated their commitment to strengthening their own skills.
Was the time spent re-learning and practicing these communication skills worthwhile?
In the words of one of our ECE directors:
“I now have more tools to maintain the relationships with my parents and teachers.”
As we know all too well, when communication breaks down, relationships suffer. And relationships are essential to quality education for children, teachers and parents.
That’s why CAJE is here to assist ECE directors and staff with the professional development they need to achieve the greatest success— for their schools, for the parents, for the children and for themselves.