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Increasing Positive Communication, Decreasing Conflict

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mahatma Gandhi

Nichole Parks and Judy Jablon, in an article that addresses power dynamics in relationships, explain that making intentional choices in the language we use “helps us to ensure that others feel seen, heard, and safe in their interactions. It creates mutual openness for learning together.”

In their article, which forms the basis for a new Exchange Reflections, “Positive Communication Strategies,” the authors provide ideas for reducing hurt feelings that come from communication misunderstandings between teachers and children, teachers and families and among members of teaching teams. Here are a few of the positive strategies they suggest:

“1. Think Impact — Reflect on how your words and actions might affect others. Ask yourself, ‘How am I inviting others to share their thoughts, to express their wisdom, and to learn together?’

2. Cultivate Self-Awareness — Notice how your background, culture, knowledge, and experiences affect your thoughts and actions as you build relationships. Are you willing to be an equal partner?

3. Nurture Relationships — Stay genuine and take your time in building relationships. How are you showing respect to others and how are they respecting you?

4. Refine Communication — Notice whether your conversations are two-way. How are you inviting a back and forth?

5. Activate Curiosity — Consider ways you are showing interest in the other person. Are you using questions to learn?”

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