Tell Me So I Can Hear You

Tell Me So I Can Hear You A Developmental Approach to Feedback for Educators

Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano
paper, 224 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-881-8
Price: $32.00

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Pub. Date: February 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-883-2

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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:


Tell Me So I Can Year You comes to the field at just the right time, when educators at every level are recognizing the importance of ensuring that feedback contributes to continuous learning for adults. The authors offer actionable insights to help educators engage in meaningful feedback conversations that lead to growth and change. — Stephanie Hirsh, executive director, Learning Forward

In a perfect marriage of theory and practice, Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano introduce a whole new dimension for thinking about feedback that is both intellectually stimulating and immediately applicable. — Robert Kegan, Meehan Professor of Adult Learning, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and coauthor, Immunity to Change and An Everyone Culture

Articulate and meaningful, Tell Me So I Can Hear You draws deeply from the research on feedback and thoughtfully integrates it with theories of adult development. The book offers a clear blueprint, as well as tools and examples of how we can move to broader and deeper growth-enhancing feedback for those we coach, evaluate, and mentor. — Elizabeth Neale, chief executive officer and founder, School Leaders Network

This book is a must-read for anyone who provides feedback in their work, especially those charged with helping teachers improve their practice. Striking a perfect balance between theory and practice, this book provides both the why and the how of offering feedback for growth. — Susan K. Brondyk, Teachers College Record

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About the Authors

Eleanor Drago-Severson is Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning & Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. A developmental psychologist, Ellie teaches, conducts research, and consults to school and district leaders, teacher leaders, and organizations on professional and personal growth and learning; leadership that supports principal, teacher, school, and leadership development; and coaching and mentoring in K–12 schools, university settings, and other adult education contexts. She is also an internationally certified developmental coach who works with leaders to build internal capacity and achieve goals. Her work is inspired by the idea that schools must be places where adults and children can grow, and she is dedicated to creating the conditions to achieve this and to helping leaders and educators of all kinds to do the same on behalf of supporting adults and youth. At Teachers College, Ellie is director of the PhD Program in Education Leadership, teaches aspiring and practicing principals in Columbia University’s Summer Principal Academy and aspiring superintendents in the Urban Education Leaders Program, and also coaches principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders in the Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Leaders. Teachers College has recognized her teaching with three awards. She earned her BA from C.W. Post, Long Island University, and her masters and doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from 1998 to 2001. Prior to her work at Teachers College, she served on the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1998– 2005), where she was awarded the Morningstar Award for excellence in teaching (2005).

Ellie is author of the best-selling books Helping Teachers Learn: Principal Leadership for Adult Growth and Development (Corwin, 2004) and Leading Adult Learning: Supporting Adult Development in Our Schools (Corwin/The National Staff Development Council, 2009), as well as Becoming Adult Learners: Principles and Practices for Effective Development (Teachers College Press, 2004) and Helping Educators Grow: Practices and Strategies for Supporting Leadership Development (Harvard Education Press, 2012). She is also a coauthor of Learning for Leadership: Developmental Strategies for Building Capacity in Our Schools (Corwin, 2013) and Learning Designs: Reach the Highest Standard of Professional Learning (Corwin, 2015).

Jessica Blum-DeStefano earned her PhD in Education Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, after nine rewarding years as a teacher and school leader in alternative education settings. Her research is situated at the intersection of adult development and student voice, and highlights the foundational role of individual identity, authenticity, and relationships for both students and teachers. Jessica is an adjunct instructor at Bank Street College of Education and, for the past seven years, has cotaught adult development with Ellie in the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College. She is also a coauthor of Learning for Leadership: Developmental Strategies for Building Capacity in Our Schools (Corwin, 2013). Jessica holds additional degrees from Emory University (BA), Hofstra University (MA), and Teachers College (M.Phil.).

Ellie and Jessica are cofacilitators of the Developmental Leadership Institute for School Change at Teachers College, Columbia University. They work closely together on numerous research, writing, teaching, and professional development projects.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Interview with Author

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