Healthy Communications in a Young School

Conversation Guidelines

These are the guidelines one school works with to create healthy conversations. When things are not going well, emotions are high, and so on, it is likely that one or more of the fol- lowing is not occurring.

1. Speak from your experience only, therefore the “I.” Be clear whether you are speaking about actual occurrences or things you have made up, conjectured or projected.

2. Connect your comment with those of the previous speakers, thereby building a cohesive conversation.

3. Paraphrase the previous speaker’s comments, if there is unclarity or when the con- nection is not obvious.

4. Address your comment to a specific person in the circle.

5. Leave pauses between comments.

6. Make one point only, thereby allowing others to contribute to the conversation.

7. It is the aim for all people in the circle to contribute to the conversation.

My commitment to the group:

• I will speak to what is important to me (thoughts, feelings, observations) in a timely manner and in a non-accusatory or non-judgmental way.

• I will be direct and specific in all my communications by using recent examples based on my experience.

• I will speak from my experience only, (not from hearsay or interpretation) and therefore speak from the “I.”

• I will paraphrase the main point of the previous speaker, especially when there is emotional content, or when I seek further clarity, or when I intend to change the subject.

• I will not interrupt when others speak.

• I will only ask questions for clarification or when I need more information.

• I will use appropriate self-disclosure to share my feelings and thoughts.

• Whenever possible, I will disclose the assumptions and motivations that underlie my ideas, comments, and actions.


• I will actively and in a timely manner solicit feedback from others on my behavior, comments and ideas.

• I will only provide feedback after given permission from the intended recipient.

• I will honor each member of the group, and leave that person free to accept or reject any or all aspects of the feedback.

• I will honor confidential information.

• I will be punctual and honor the meeting times.

Conceptual Guidelines on Healthy Written Communication

• All communication (facsimile, telephone, written, e-mail and oral)
shall be direct, factual and honest, timely, helpful and kind. It is
the responsibility of both parties to insist that the information pass these simple guidelines. It is also the responsibility of both parties to keep the content clear of the third person, i.e., he said, she said.

• If someone has a complaint with someone and does not get satisfaction from an interaction directly with that person, he is encouraged to get mediation help from the office or another party. If that does not satisfy both parties, there are three people to call: College Chair, Faculty Chair and Board President.

• Communication coming to the office will be given directly and only to the one to whom it was intended.

• Information with third party concerns shall not be disseminated from the office. There will be no memo gossip.

These helpful guidelines are from the Young Schools Guide by AWSNA which can be found in the Resource Section of the LeadTogether site and at the Online Waldorf Library.


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  1. […]  Communication in a Young School from the Young Schools Guide is a short article by David Mitchell about the ways that groups involved in creating a school can focus their attention on the topic of healthy communications. […]

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