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Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Conference Keynotes: Great Food for Thought!

Doug Stone……

…….co-author of the recently published Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (Even When it is Off Base, Unfair, Poorly Delivered, and, Frankly, You’re Not in the Mood), offered some excellent advice on the ability to accept feedback and use it for professional development and healthy relationships. Dr. Stone defined the three categories of feedback as appreciation (valuing and thanking), coaching (how to improve), and evaluation (ranking), and explained the three most commonly used triggers to disqualify feedback: truth triggers (we decide it’s wrong too early), relationship triggers (who are you to tell me?), and identity triggers (too upsetting to hear). He explained that hearing negative feedback is more damaging since we often tie it to “everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life.” Some tips: redirect that internal violence toward curiosity; turn the thought process from what’s wrong with the feedback to what’s right and then just test whether it’s helpful or not.

Coach Herman Boone………

……..the real Coach Boone of Remember the Titans fame spoke to leading, coaching, and the importance of respect, trust, character, encouraging success, and a sense of humor. He closed with the moving poem “It Matters to This One” (no attribution located but it can be found here: http://www.oafccd.com/lanark/poems/matters.html):

As I walked along the seashore, a young boy greeted me. He was throwing stranded starfish back to the deep blue sea. I said “Tell my why you bother, why you waste your time this way? There’s a million stranded starfish, does it matter anyway?

And he said “It matters to this one. It deserves a chance to grow. It matters to this one, I can’t save them all I know. But it matters to this one, I’ll return it to the sea. It matters to this one, and it matters to me.”

I walked into the classroom. The teacher greeted me. She was helping Johnny study, he was struggling I could see. I said “Tell my why you bother, why you waste your time this way. Johnny’s only one of millions, does it matter anyway?”

And she said “It matters to this one, he deserves a chance to grow. It matters to this one, I can’t save them all I know. But it matters to this one, I’ll help him be what he can be. It matters to this one and it matters to me.”