Communicating as Collaborators,
Consultants, and Team Members
By: Kaitlyn Fenton
“Communication is not simply delivering a
message. It involvestalking, listening,
managing interpersonal conflict, and
addressing concerns together. Key
components of successful communication
are understanding, trust, autonomy, and
flexibility. Effective communicators
withhold judgment and minimize efforts
to control the path of communication.”
Communication for effective
New Generation of Communication
Special educators must master the art of
communication in order to maintain a supportive
environment around co-workers, students, and
Verbal Aspects of Communication
Miscommunication breeds misunderstanding
Differing values, ambiguous language, stereotypes,
assumptions, and personal experiences can also effect
they way you communicate
Nonverbal Aspects of
rate, pitch, and
Overall facial expressions
Clothing and Physical
Ethnic and Gender
May effect both sender and
How males and females
communicate is different.
Cultural differences can
happen in many ways:
Use of space
Building Skills for Communicating
Five Major Skill Sets
1. Rapport Building
2. Responsive Listening
4. Conflict Management
5. Collaborative Problem Solving
Work together to identify
the problem and provide
ideas toward solving the
Trust, Respect, Feeling that
it is okay not to have all
the answers, feeling free to
ask question, and feeling
all right about disagreeing
are central aspects of
building a relationship.
People want to know that
the other person is really
You must learn to respect
individuals differences and
convey high esteem for
“Accept people for who they are rather than
wishing they were different.”
Responsive Listening Skills
(Responding, both verbally and nonverbally, to the words and actions of the
Responsive Listening helps:
Talk Less, Listen More!
“Effective talkers must be
careful not to let the lines
of communication get
tangled up in a tendency to
talk too much or too
Why so difficult?
Gather information on students
with special needs.
Others feel better by reducing
Encourage others to express
themselves freely and fully.
Promote self-understanding and
Three Major Components:
Hard to keep an open mind.
1. Nonverbal Listening
May think listening implies
2. Encouraging the sending
May be tired, anxious, or
bursting with energy.
3.Showing understanding of
“…should demonstrate to the
speaker that the receiver is
respecting the speaker
enough to concentrate on
the message and is
following the speaker’s
thoughts to find the real
-Avoid predicting what the
speaker will say and NEVER
complete their sentences.
Verbal Listening Skills
Three skills that promote
talking by the speaker:
Inviting- providing an
opportunity for others to
talk by signaling that you
are interested in listening.
Encouraging- words added
to nodding that encourage
Cautious Questioning- use
minimal questioning, only
questions used to clarify
what the speaker is saying.
(“…think carefully about the message and reflect it back to the speaker without changing
the content or intent of the message.”)
*Accurate and Brief*
Allows the listener to check their understanding of the
The speaker will either nod in agreement or correct the listener.
Listen, Empathize, and Communicate Respect
(Now it’s your turn)
■ use an “I” message instead of a “you” message.
■ say “and” instead of “but.”
■ state the behavior objectively.
■ name your own feelings.
■ say what you want to happen.
■ express concern for others (empathy).
■ use assertive body language.
Concern for others
during the interaction
“…although people have
thoughts and feelings
thatdiffer from those of
others, they can still
respect the feelings and
ideas of others.”
If the listener portrays that
they understand the
struggles of the speaker the
speaker will be more likely
to listen and work
How to be concerned
Use “I” sentences rather than
Use “and” rather than “but”
write down how you will phrase
what you want to say and practice
saying it aloud until it feels
natural and you are comfortable
with the words and phrasing.
assertive communication includes
showing supportive body language,
a firm voice, straight posture, eye
contact, and body orientation
toward the receiver.
The Art of Apologizing
Never blame someone else for communication
breakdowns, accept responsibility for your own
APOLOGIZING DOES NOT PUT YOU AT A DISADVANTAGE!
Never say “but” after saying “I’m sorry”.
Most importantly, apologies are empty if you keep
repeating the behavior or the mistake.
Roadblocks to Communication
Barriers that do not allow effective collaborative
We do not intend to send blocking messages but
sometimes we inadvertently do.
Facing away or looking at
(ex:tapping a pencil)
These undermine the spirit
Criticizing, name calling,
or analyzing why a person
is behaving a certain way.
Directing or ordering,
warning, moralizing or
preaching, advising, and
using logical arguments or
Avoiding Others’ Concerns
“no big deal”
Managing Resistance, Negativity,
Anger, and Conflict
it is critical to separate the person from the problem.
expressing the emotions and addressing the issues can
lead to positive outcomes if done in the proper time and
Why do we resist change?
■ have a vested interest in the status quo
■ have low tolerance for change
■ feel strongly that the change would be undesirable
■ Be unclear about what the change would entail or bring
■ fear the unknown
Why Collaborative Partners Resist
It is uncomfortable when people disagree
Occasionally another individual says something that
pushes a “hot button”
How to deal with resistance and
It starts with handling your own defensiveness.
Negative people are not going to change, the person
who has to change is the consultant.
Do not engage in the negativity.
Refrain from taking negativity personally.
Communicate in writing first.
Instead of reacting, seek to regain a mental balance and
stay focused. So, don’t react.
Why people get
When situations come off as
unfair or threatening and the
person feels helpless.
Differences in opinions,
values, and behaviors.
An action following
expectations, loss of selfrespect, or fear.
Accompanied by anxiety and
How to deal with the
Address the problem rather
than the person.
Try to find a shared goal.
Speak more softly and calmly
and listen intently.
Get to know them as people,
Write down your final
commitments to obtain a
record that can be looked
Why conflict occurs
in school contexts.
How to resolve
There are unreconciled
differences in terms of needs,
values, goals, and personalities.
Agree to common goals or
common ground for discussion.
Disagreement over teaching
methods, learning and behavioral
goals, assessment methods, and
First listen responsively and
acknowledge what is being said.
There is too little information or
because misunderstandings have
been created from incorrect
Put aside preconceived notions
about your own expertise.
People have different values about
children, education, or educator
roles within the learning context.
“Everybody wins” philosophy.
Establish ground rules for
resolving the conflict.
Technology to Facilitate Communication
Email can facilitate or hinder efforts to collaborate.
Lack a tone of voice, body-language signals, and other nonverbal
There is a network etiquette that should be followed in
order to best benefit this type of collaboration.
Communicating Ethically in
Write down what one plans to say.
Keep a log for recording interactions, analyzing them, and
reflecting on ways to fix any complications.
Select words and expressions carefully.
Have a colleague read something before sending it.
Begin on a positive note.
Listen instead of arguing, establish ground rules, and work
toward common goals and expectations.
Remain calm and listen always.
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