Having Hard Conversations

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Designed to help educators confidently lead difficult conversations, this insightful book offers interactive exercises, sample scripts, and a step-by-step approach to help realize positive outcomes.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Grinder
"Our teaching culture is adverse to conflict. Having tools like this will move education forward as a profession."
Eleanor Drago-Severson
"A thoughtful and practical map for authentically engaging in and learning from having hard conversations. Abrams gently teaches us why having these conversations matter and how they can help us grow. Her work shines light on the landscape of personal and professional learning from engagement in hard conversations."
Ann Lieberman
"A wonderful combination of coaching, consulting, and crafting a way of teaching us all to speak honestly in our relationships. From casual conversations to value conflicts, we learn to use and become sensitive to differences in gender, style, and position in this very appealing and important book. A must-read for teachers, principals, and district office personnel who care about developing a healthy school community."
Beth Madison
"This book has already changed my life. Just by reading it, my courage to have hard conversations has soared."
Lauren Levin
"A straightforward, practical and useful guide for engaging in difficult conversations."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412965002
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 1/8/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 489,362
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Abrams is a professional developer for Palo Alto (Calif.) Unified School District and a national and international educational consultant for public and private schools, charter schools, universities, and non-profits. Abrams has been a high school English teacher, new teacher coach, and induction program coordinator. She now trains and coaches teachers and administrators on successful teaching practices, new teacher support, supervision and evaluation, generational savvy, having hard conversations, and effective collaboration skills.

She works with cadres of PAUSD teacher leaders to lead sessions on Elements of Instruction and Equity=Excellence and provides all new teacher trainings and supervisor trainings at the secondary level. Abrams also is a lead coach for the Palo Alto–Mountain View/Los Altos Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program.

In her consulting work, Abrams has presented at annual conferences such as NSDC, ASCD, NCTE, and the New Teacher Center at UC Santa Cruz Annual Symposium, and has trained new teachers in the Stanford Teacher Education Program, administrative candidates at Santa Clara University, and international school leaders through the Principals Center for International School Leadership. Her chapter, “Habits of Mind for the School Savvy Leader” will be featured in Art Costa and Bena Kallick’s upcoming book in their Habits of Mind series, Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind.

Abrams considers herself a “voice coach,” helping teachers and administrators learn how to best use their voices, whether in a group, in front of a classroom, coaching a colleague, or in a supervisory role. She holds a master’s degree in education from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Arthur L. Costa Preface Acknowledgments About the Author
1. What Are Hard Conversations and Why Should We Have Them?
2. Why We Hesitate Having Hard Conversations
3. Questions to Ask Yourself Before Having the Hard Conversation
4. What’s the Real Problem?: Finding the Professional Language to Name It
5. Making a Plan
6. Scripting Your Initial Comments
7. The Whats, Wheres, and Whens of Having the Hard Conversation
8. What Ifs? Other Types of Hard Conversations
9. Conclusion Appendix A. Extended List of Professional Behaviors Appendix B. School Savvy Etiquette Appendix C. Sample Scripts for Hard Conversations References Index

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