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Facilitating Effective Discussions

  • Focus on the issue, not the person. Try not to take everything personally, and similarly, express your own needs and opinions in terms of the job at hand. Solve problems rather than attempt to control others. For example, rather than ignoring a student who routinely answers questions in class with inappropriate tangents, speak with the student outside of class about how this might disrupt the class and distract other students.
  • Be genuine rather than manipulative. Be yourself, honestly and openly. Be honest with yourself, and focus on working well with the people around you, and acting with integrity.
  • Empathize rather than remain detached. Although professional relationships entail some boundaries when it comes to interaction with colleagues, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity, and to really care about the people you work with. If you don’t care about them, it will be difficult for them to care about you when it comes to working together.
  • Be flexible towards others. Allow for other points of view, and be open to other ways of doing things. Diversity brings creativity and innovation.
  • Value yourself and your own experiences. Be firm about your own rights and needs. Undervaluing yourself encourages others to undervalue you, too. Offer your ideas and expect to be treated well.
  • Use affirming responses. Respond to other in ways that acknowledge their experiences. Thank them for their input. Affirm their right to their feelings, even if you disagree. Ask questions, express positive feeling; and provide positive feedback when you can.

CTE teaching tips

Other CTE resources

Consider participating in the CTE’s Instructional Skills Workshop, an intensive, collaborative learning model that uses videotaped micro-teaching and peer feedback sessions to support participants’ teaching reflection and growth.