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Professional Communication
Language, demeanor and protocol
By Marie-Chantal Hogue
Lakehead University Special Education, Specialist
Communication: the essence of leadership
As educational leaders, you are strategically
positioned to shape the direction of education and of
society as a whole. You are a powerful influence in the
lives of students, equipping them with the knowledge,
skills, attitudes, dispositions, sensibilities and
character attributes necessary for responsible and
engaged citizenship. You are responsible for creating
safe havens, caring and demanding learning cultures,
and effective schools that emphasize both excellence
and equity. You create the conditions for success in
teaching, learning and student achievement, and you
engage parents and communities in meaningful ways
to support learning. With all that you make happen in
your schools, you also serve as leaders in your
Dr. Avis Glaze
Edu-quest International Inc.
Communication skills referred as soft skills
by Dr. Glaze
Positive regard
Active listening
Empathic understanding
Meaningful questioning
Respectful assertiveness
Constructive confrontation
Effective feedback
Willingness to accept criticism
Retrieved from
Communication: Professional communication, encompasses written, oral, visual and
digital communication within a workplace context.retrieved from
Demeanor: The three basic tenets that are included in professional demeanor are
Professional Appearance and Attitude, Respect for Diversity and Reliability and Ethics.”
retrieved from
Protocol: is a set of step-by-step guidelinesusually in the form of a simple one- or
two-page documentthat is used by educators to structure professional conversations
or learning experiences to ensure that meeting, planning, or group-collaboration time is
used efficiently, purposefully, and productively.” retrieved from
Shared Responsibility in Communication
“The teaching profession’s deep
commitment to engage in rich
ongoing professional learning is
communicated to the public
through multiple transparent
communication mechanisms.
This is a shared responsibility
and a direct object of the
College’s mandate (Figure 12).”
retrieved from
to the Public
Based on
OCT’s graphic
Different Opportunities Meetings I attended
School Team Meetings for student at risk (which include parents, principal, classroom teacher and other special
education personnel)
Support Group Meetings for ASD (which include parents, principal, classroom teacher, ASD Board Specialist and
other professional as needed)
Transition Meetings (which include parents, the present and the future principals, classroom teacher, future
special education teacher and other professional as needed)
Various Meetings involving the principal, the parents and classroom teachers (as needed) on issues such as
transportation, new diagnosis, new hearing equipment and so forth
Evaluation Presentations (which include the Board personnel who performed the evaluation, the principal, the
parents and the classroom teacher)
Gifted Evaluation Team Meetings (which include Board Specialist in Giftedness, Director of Student’s services
and principal.
Admission Committee Meetings (which include parents, principal and Superintendent)
New Student School Team Meetings (which include parents, principal and community professionals)
Board Organization Chart
Director of
Depends on two factors:
Who called the meeting.
Who is higher up in the School
Board Organization Chart.
Under the direction of the
person presiding, the person
with more knowledge or
understanding of the situation
or subject discussed will be the
person presenting the
information .
Who Presides Each Meeting?
In all meetings, the principal does the necessary introduction of all
In school team meetings for students at risks, transition meetings, new student
school orientation meetings, evaluation presentations and in other meetings
with various topics (i.e.: transportation), the principal presides and conducts
the meeting.
In support group meetings ASD, the principal presides and the board ASD
specialist conducts the meeting.
In IRPC and in gifted evaluation presentation, the director of student services
presides and conducts the meeting.
In admission committee meeting, the superintendent presides and conducts
the meeting.
Common phrases, themes, actions, etc.…
Student strengths
Student needs
Student abilities
Explicit teaching
Annual learning goals
Social skills
Plan of action
Next step
Assessments, evaluations,
Thank you for coming.
The purpose of this meeting is…
Do you have the same challenge
at home? How do you work it
Your child safety is our priority.
How can we help student x?
It is a pleasure to work with your
Our next meeting will be…
It is a pleasure to meet you.
Do you have any questions?
Does this represent your child as
you know him/her?
APPEARANCE: at the exception of classroom teachers and special education teachers who are dressed
business casual (for practicality and comfort while working with students) and the parents who are dressed
as it pleases them, other participants usually dress with a more formal business dress code.
Common phrases, themes, actions, etc. (suite)
COURTEOUS COMMUNICATION: all professional participants use constructive
feedback while identifying clearly the students needs.
CULTURAL ETIQUETTE: shake hands firmly, eye contact, personal space, calling by
last name the parents and among employees by our first name using the title m.,
mme., mlle. (French culture), sitting straight, no interrupting, no passing your hands in
front of someone else, punctuality, and more.
NOTETAKING: most participants have their own pen and paper to take notes from the
meeting and in some meetings someone is assigned to take official and legal notes
that would be share with all stakeholders involved.
CELL PHONE: no call interruptions unless the educational leader has mentioned
beforehand that he/she was expecting an important call that could not be delayed.
Personal reflection
As I looked back at all the meetings I attended, I believe that through the guidance,
direction and leadership of my principal, I was able to demonstrate a professional
demeanor during our meetings.
At the beginning, my tongue slipped (a couple of times) and I mentioned the name of
other students when the situation do not call for it and was immediately and kindly
I believe that my next step would be to pay more attention to my dress code when we
have a series of meetings which takes me out of the classroom in which case I can
dress more formally. I also need to be a little more conscious of the line between
friendly business behaviours and more casual behaviours.
Finally, I would like to read over again the advisory on electronic communication to
make sure I follow all the guidelines offered by our professional college.

Professional Advisory: Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media
retrieved July 7, 2017
Foundations of Professional Practice August 2016
retrieved July 7, 2017
Exploring Ethical Relationships
retrieved July 7, 2017
Exploring Interprofessional Collaboration and Ethical Leadership
retrieve July 7, 2017
Communication the essence of leadership
retrieved July 7, 2017