Collaboration and Communication Strategies for Parents and Schools PRESENTED BY TRACY LEWIS-LEE FA M I L Y R E S O U R C E C O O R D I N A T O R COLONIAL HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOLS JUNE 19, 2014 What’s the difference between Communication and Collaboration? What is communication? Merriam-Webster.com defines communication as: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc. to someone else. Region One PRC’s DVD, “Recipe for What is collaboration? Student Success” defines collaboration as: a partnership with the purpose of working together for a common goal. Collaboration is not an “activity”; it’s an ongoing process. One of the best ways to foster collaboration is to learn how to communicate effectively with one another in order to build trust. Facts about Communication The Laws of Forgetting We forget 50% of what we hear immediately. We forget 75% of what we hear within two months. Of the 25% that we do remember, only 60% is correct. The other 40% is made up of things that we “remember”…that were never said in the first place! How We Really Communicate Vocabulary (7%) Vocal Inflections (38%) Nonverbal Behavior (55%) Tips for Good Communication Body Language Do: Don’t: Make good eye contact Cross your arms Smile Roll your eyes Lean forward Compulsively check your Nod to show that you’re phone and/or clock Sigh heavily paying attention Be Self Aware Do you have preconceived notions about how this communication is going to go (in other words, are you remembering the adage, “There are two sides to every story.”)? Are you judging the teacher or other school personnel? What kind of tone is your “default” tone? Do you understand that the teacher has (and is supposed to have!) a different perspective from your own? Are you an active listener and do you have any “listening bad habits”? Help the School Understand Your Perspective Say things like: I’m not an educator. Please explain this to me in a way that I can understand. I’m not questioning you because I disagree; I’m only trying to understand. Let me explain to you what a typical evening in my home looks like. I have other children who also need my attention. Please clarify for me exactly what it is that you’d like me to do. I have hopes and dreams for my child that may seem unreasonable to you, but let’s try to aim for them anyway. The Power of “Reframing” Reframing is the act of changing a What is reframing? question or a statement so that the perspective shifts—sometimes from a “negative” into a “positive”. Reframing can also provide for an entirely different set of solutions to a question or problem. Examples of Reframing Change this: To this: My mother is always My mother has a strong interfering. Why did you set up your classroom this way? What is the sum of 5 + 5? need to protect me. This classroom set-up is interesting! Can you tell me why this works well for you? What two numbers add up to 10? Reframing If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” -Albert Einstein Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwjAAgGi-90 What You Can Do to Make Meetings Run More Smoothly Keep all of your child’s records in one Prior to the meeting place. Read through all information that the school sends home prior to the meeting. Give thought to what you believe your child’s specific problems, issues, strengths, and talents are. Make a written list of questions and items to cover. Determine whether you will bring your child to the meeting. Arrive a few minutes early. Right before the meeting Shake the hands of those present and/or offer a smile. Find out how much time is scheduled for the meeting. Show respect and expect if from During the meeting others. Manage your emotions. Be specific and clear. Ask questions if you’re unfamiliar with terms that are used. Use praise and thank the staff for their hard work. End by summarizing what you believe that you heard. End the meeting on a positive note, if possible. Sources Communication. (n.d.). In Merriam Webster Online. Retrieved from http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/communication. Garber, Peter R. (2008). 50 Communications Activities, Icebreakers, and Exercises. Amherst, Massachusetts: HRD Press. Goldberg, Marsha. (2005, November). Communication Skills. Conducted at the 2005 State PRC Meeting, Stafford, Virginia. A Guide to Effective Communication [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwjAAgGi-90. Lee, Charlene. Special Education: A Parent’s Perspective. Conducted for Chesterfield County Public Schools, Richmond, Virginia. Seelig, Tina. (2013, January 14). Shift Your Lens: The Power of Re-Framing Problems. Retrieved from http://stvp.stanford.edu/blog/?p=6435.