In Tell Me So I Can Hear You, Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano show how education leaders can learn to deliver feedback in a way that strengthens relationships as well as performance and builds the capacity for growth. Drawing on constructive-developmental theory, the authors describe four stages of adult growth and development and explain how to differentiate feedback for colleagues with different "ways of knowing," which include:
Instrumental knowers, who tend to see things in black and white ("Did I do it right or wrong?") and may need to develop the capacity for reflection.
Socializing knowers, who are concerned with maintaining relationships ("What do you want me to do?") and may need support developing their own ideas.
Self-authoring knowers, who have strong ideologies and values ("How does this fit with my goals and vision?") and may need help with perspective taking.
Self-transformative knowers, who are able to examine issues from multiple points of view ("How can I understand this more deeply?") and may need guidance in resolving tensions and contradictions.
The authors show how leaders can provide feedback in ways that "meet people where they are" while expanding the developmental capacities educators bring to their work. Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano provide real-life examples with practical strategies for creating a safe space for feedback, finding the right words, and bridging feedback and action. Tell Me So I Can Hear You offers invaluable guidance to help educators support a culture of learning in classrooms, schools, and districts.
Eleanor Drago-Severson is Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, USA.
Jessica Blum-DeStefano teaches at Bank Street College of Education, USA.