Effective Communication

good_communication6-

“Whether collaboration is new or familiar, we must see ourselves as global partners who harness our diversity to travel together toward a shared destination” (Winer & Ray, 1994, p30).  Winer and Ray (1994) talks about the road travelled and how our influences based on language, cultural and society affects our decision making.  In our conversations as educators sometimes our roads are clearly defined and at others we chose which fork in the road to follow.  Teamwork and effective communication is essential to establishing rapport and trust with our students and their families, as well as other colleagues and support personnel.  When we respect, reciprocate and resolve to not only listen to the conversation, but observe non-verbal queues to ascertain the exact message that is being presented we show that we are vested in the conversation.  We should always be mindful of the quote above whether we’re communicating on a personal or professional What I’ve learned is the value of the leadership role in team collaborations.  Leadership should provide cohesiveness, allow for shared power and responsibility among team members, and should be able to resolve conflict issues before they escalate.  Being aware of challenges and shortcomings is just as important as knowing when to regroup if tasks or goals aren’t being met or resources not being fully utilized.

With a solid foundation now set in the core subjects, I move onto the specialization of Administration, Management and Leadership in Early Childhood Studies.  I take these tools with me in the hopes that I can help facilitate change and make positive strides in the educating of educators and support personnel responsible in their daily task of teaching and learning from our youth.  Thank you to Dr. Parrish and all of my colleagues along the way who have shared their experiences and offered invaluable advice.  My goal is to continue this blog after my studies complete as I continue my journey to continue to build my resources and share information.  Best wishes and I’ll be blogging soon!

Reference

Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Winer, M., & Ray, K. (1994). Collaboration handbook: Creating, sustaining, and enjoying the journey. St. Paul, MN: Fieldstone Alliance

And she’s black

My first memory of oppression came when I was in the second grade. I knew that I had brown skin, but my parents never discussed what the difference my skin would make. Their emphasis was always on getting good grades and being respectful. The only true difference my father use to say was that I was made to be a girl, and then there boys. We sleep, eat and cry the same but learn life lessons and experiences differently. Whatever you put your heart and mind to, you can achieve.

This particular day in class I learned that I was the only black student in my class. The way the teacher implied it was like she thought I already knew that fact. I can’t even remember what we were talking about in class only that she said “we’re white” while pointing towards me “and she’s black”. As everyone turned to look at me, I turned too and then realized she was pointing at me. My feelings hurt and confused, I thought is this better or worse than whom I was five minutes before this conversation began. I thought did I do something wrong as the entire class turned and stared when she simply stated “and she’s black” and why was being black different or important? I thought I was a pretty shade of brown, when did I become black? This was the first thing I mentioned to my mom when I got home. Both her and my father was livid.

In retrospect the teacher could have said more to make me feel less uncomfortable and discussed what similarities we shared. I don’t believe that her intention was to be malicious or prejudice, but at 7 years old I don’t believe I could make that judgement. The next day in class after a discussion with my parents and the principal, we did have another class discussion specifically about race and an apology was given. As educators of young children it is important to know their background and home life. It provides us with valuable information on what our students know and how to approach them without making them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

From that moment I learned two valuable lessons. First, I still needed to make good grades, give respect and earn respect. Secondly, the color of my skin had nothing to do with achieving the first.