PTAs: Help Your School Create a Positive School Climate

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e-Etiquette

 
 

How to Choose Your Words Wisely in Facebook Posts, E-mails, and Texts, by Dr. Brad Schwall

To view the online version of these tips, go to:  www.coolkidschannel.com/e-tips/e-etiquette

Comments on Facebook and e-mails can be a positive way to connect in our schools and communities, but comments sent electronically can quickly cause problems, perpetuate misunderstandings, and exacerbate conflicts.  It’s natural that interactions between parents and parents and parents and school staff within schools and PTAs may lead to conflicts and differing opinions.  We can make either destructive or constructive choices in how we use e-mail, texts, and social media in responding to those interactions and challenges.  Our students and children need us to be examples.  The same guidelines for choosing our words wisely apply to parents and youth:

  • Only write what you would be comfortable with everyone you know in the community seeing.  E-mails, texts, and posts are permanent and may be spread quickly. 
  • Avoid writing when you’re angry.  Take some time to get calm.
  • Be cautious when hitting "Reply All" or sending an e-mail or text to a group of parents or staff members.
  • Avoid addressing conflict through social media, e-mail, or texts because it’s difficult to discern the tone of words and misunderstanding may occur more readily.
  • Deal with conflicts directly with the person or people involved. Try going directly to the person involved in the issue first rather than immediately going to a person in a higher position to complain about someone.
  • Talk face-to-face about issues that may involve emotions.  It's too easy and dangerous to hide behind an e-mail.
  • Vent privately, if necessary, rather than on social media or in e-mails.
  • When clarifying a fact via e-mail, begin the e-mail politely asking for help in understanding rather than making an accusation.
  • Clarify miscommunication quickly in person.
  • Focus on defining the problem, clarifying  information, and brainstorming rather than blaming someone or making a negative statement about someone's personality.

What to Communicate in E-mails, Texts, and Social Media

  • Times and dates
  • Offers to help
  • Helpful ideas
  • Compliments

What to Avoid Communicating in E-mails, Texts, and Social Media

  • Criticism of others
  • Rumors
  • Gossip
  • Speculations
  • Accusations
  • False information

We all have different opinions or perspectives.  Our opinions may be valid, but they may not always be based on fact.  Sharing assumptions, rumors, or personal perspectives that put the character and reputation of others in jeopardy in a public forum is dangerous and disrespectful.  Face conflicts face-to-face focusing on solutions to the problem rather than personality.

 

©  2012 Dr. Brad Schwall, Author Cool Kids Resources for Schools and Parents.  Permission granted to re-distribute these tips. 

 

The Cool Kids resources help schools develop positive learning environments, children build character, and parents effectively parent their children.  Sign up to receive free parenting tips: www.coolkidschannel.com/parentingtips , DrSchwall@coolkidschannel.com

 

 
 
    © Dr. Brad Schwall - Cool Kids. All Rights Reserved.

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