Have we lost the art of conversation ?

In an article by Dr Allen Mendler on teaching students how to have a conversation, I was  again reminded of what has been a popular conversation in staff rooms in recent years about the dangers in having a conversation via email or how we are becoming reliant on new age shorthand to get our messages across. Invariably, because of our lack of experience in understanding how others might perceive our communications, the messages get lost in translation! In the Common Core English standards there is a renewed emphasis on listening and speaking and Mendler’s suggestions certainly resonate with regard to some of the important skills we need to develop in this area.

He suggests the following 8 tips to help our students ( or anyone for that matter) develop the art of good conversation!

 

1. Model a Good Conversation

2. Encourage Physical Cues

3. Challenge Put-Downs or Hurtful Comments

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

5. Put Thinking Ahead of Knowing

6. Have Informal Chats

7. Make Eye Contact

8. Encourage Turn-Taking

Of course we need to have time to develop the skills and this is where parents need to use every possible opportunity to engage their children in meaningful conversations.

Read more at:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-your-students-conversation-allen-mendler

Multipliers and Diminishers – a great conceptualization of leadership styles!

 

 

 

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Model from The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius inside our Schools – Liz Wiseman, Elise Foster and Lois Allen

I really like the above conceptualization of leadership styles and Liz Wiseman, the co-author of The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, talks about the empowering effect of having leaders who are ‘multipliers’ in terms of encouraging emergent leadership or ‘leadership at the rockface’ where you honour the knowledge, skills and ideas of the members of the team. Instead of having staff afraid to make a mistake or step outside the box, we should foster an environment where it is cool to take risks! Check out Liz’ blog called ‘Finding Common Ground’.

 

On Carol Dweck’s concept of Mindset

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Carol Dweck is a psychologist interested in the concept of a growth mindsets and how that relates to motivation. “Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.” She contrasts a fixed mindset where people believe that their abilities/potential is basically a given that is unlikely to change greatly with a that of a growth mindset where we believe that our traits/abilities are the starting point and can be developed.

Since the beginning of IQ testing, debate has raged over whether it measures a fixed potential or a starting point that can vary according to a multitude of factors. “…scientists are learning that people have more capacity for life-long learning and brain development than they ever thought.” I do believe that hard work, Commitment, grit and a sense of open potential (growth mindset) will lead to greater intrinsic motivation but ultimately our perceived success will temper the power of the intrinsic motivation and hence our overall growth mindset!

From Carol Dweck’s website: http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/whatdoesthismeanforme/index.html

 

Happy by Pharrell Williams

This is a sensational video of people clapping, dancing and simply being happy!! George’Guru’ Couros brought it to my attention! This has to make you feel better! Why not try something like this with your staff and students? The worst that could happen is that you have a few laughs!

Dan Ryder’s tips on Twitter PLNs

I too am on a journey similar to Dan Ryder who says: “In just a few short months, I have leveraged the 140-character microblogging platform into my global PLN. Twitter chat communities such as #edtechchat and #PATUE discuss technology integration, while #Satchatand #Sunchat explore a wide range of pedagogical topics both practical and philosophical” eSchool News article titled Tips on building personal learning network on Twitter.

Since attending the EARCOS Leadership conference in Bangkok and listening to people like George Couros, I have renewed energy to get my teeth into the habit of ‘tweet discipline’ and ‘blog behaviours’ conducive to establishing my PLN. Why is it necessary? For me it is a matter of starting to sift through the unbelievable amount of cyberdata appearing in my inbox each day and finding a gem to reflect on. In doing so I am forcing myself to place it in my cognitive network in annotated fashion and consequently strengthening more connections in my overall conceptual frameworks.