Sunday, April 11, 2010

Teaching Books: How to Say the Right Thing Every Time by Robert D. Ramsey

[I'm not going to try to review the books I'm reading as part of my transition to becoming an educator. However, I do want to at least do summaries, both for myself and if anyone's interested. Consider these mini-reviews, if you will.]

This book is directed primarily at principals and superintendents, but I figured that any kind of information about how to talk to people in relation to a school setting would be helpful. The book is fairly similar to any other how-to management book I've read, designed with simple sentences and prescriptions that end up using targeted language to get the results you are looking for.

The biggest thing in the book is its desire to keep away from using jargon. Ramsey argues that jargon turns people off, and that straight talking is the best policy. He also stresses honesty, even when it's uncomfortable, and never covering up the truth, as it will always get out somehow.

Ramsey's book is divided into short chapters for dealing with students, parents, the general public, and of course, people in the education field. The advice is similar in all areas, reflecting back to the theme of being honest and direct. There are sample examples of correspondence as well as listing of proactive words. The last major components are dos and don'ts for various occasions.

Two things that did stand out were Ramsey's continued references to Jesse Ventura and his occasional mentions of God and religion. The former is a weird quirk, but understandable. The latter may be troubling for some readers, so just be aware that it exists.

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