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SMES Courageous Conversations

Talking across difference like gender, race, sexual orientation, and class can raise anxiety for many people, and yet we must have the conversation in our schools and our lives in order to be more inclusive, increase cultural competence, and change the world for the better. What are the fears and common pitfalls that keep us from broaching courageous conversations? Look beyond safety toward bravery.

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SMES Courageous Conversations

  1. 1. St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Seattle Girls’ School From Safe to Brave: Engaging in Courageous Conversations Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  2. 2. About Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  3. 3. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( The Jones Model of Cultural Competence Cultural Self- Awareness Cultural Intelligence Cross-Cultural Effectiveness Skills Countering Oppression through Inclusion
  4. 4. Engaging in Courageous Conversations Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  5. 5. Fears and Anxieties that Keep Us from Having Conversations  Offending  Losing Face  Tokenism  Social/Professional Risk  Bursting the Bubble  Rocking the Boat  Conflict  Lack of “Authority” Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  6. 6. Pitfalls and Obstacles that Keep Us from Conversing Again  Outbursts  Silence  Denial  The Good Talk  Teacher vs. Facilitator  Personal Attacks  The Quick Fix  Leadership Oppression Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  7. 7. Myths that Get In the Way Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (  All or None  Mistakes  Apologies  “Tonsils” Theory  Vulnerability
  8. 8. Reflection: What anxieties, obstacles, or myths pose the greatest challenges for you in engaging courageously in conversations? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  9. 9. Safety Versus Comfort Safety: I feel that, in this space, I can ask questions without fear of judgment. I can voice my perspective and know that I will be validated for the fact that that is my truth. Others may challenge my ideas, but that challenge is in the spirit of greater shared understanding and growth. Comfort: I feel that, in this space, my reality will be agreed with, validated, and unchallenged. I don’t have to explain myself to be understood, and I don’t have to justify my perspective, as everyone shares it. True dialogue happens in an environment where everyone is safe but not always comfortable... SO THAT THEY CAN LEARN AND GROW. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  10. 10. Moving Conversations from Safe to Brave  Controversy with Civility  Ownership of intent and impact  Challenge by choice – with reflection  Respect in all its multiplicity  Pointed challenges, not personal attacks  Mindfulness of the true source of emotions Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  11. 11. Embracing Mistakes William Taylor’s Reflective Competence Model Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  12. 12. Reflection: What is a competence you have developed through mistakes, humble curiosity, effort, and practice? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  13. 13. Openly Acknowledge Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  14. 14. Define the Opportunity Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  15. 15. Practice Growth Mindset Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  16. 16. Engage in Dialogue Versus Debate Brenda J. Allen, Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity SUPPORTIVE DEFENSIVE Description Evaluation Problem-Orientation Control Spontaneity Strategy Empathy Neutrality Equality Superiority Provisionalism Certainty Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  17. 17. Inclusive Communities Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  18. 18. Presenter Information Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee 6th Faculty and Professional Outreach Seattle Girls’ School 2706 S Jackson Street Seattle WA 98144 (206) 805-6562 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  19. 19. Resources • Anti-Defamation League • Brené Brown • Cross Cultural Connections ( • National Coalition Building Institute • The People’s Institute • Stirfry Seminars • Teaching Tolerance • The Thiagi Group Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (