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Sunday, February 26, 2017

What is Effective Communication?

Effective communication is an important life skill that enables us to better understand and connect with the people around us. It allows us to build respect and trust, resolve differences and foster environments where problem-solving, caring, affection and creative ideas can thrive. Lack of effective communication inadvertently leads to conflict and frustration.

Some ideas to communicate effectively:

  • Eye contact - Don’t stare your audience down, but maintaining eye contact tells them you are listening.

  • Talking with your hands - Use your hands to emphasize your key points.

  • Avoid extraneous sounds - If you constantly hear “um” or “you know” it is distracting from the important points.

  • Pause momentarily before responding - You are probably thinking of a response before the other person has even completed their thoughts. Instead, pause, think, and really understand what was just said. Then formulate your response to convey your thoughts.

  • Don’t rush - Like the idea above, slow down and pay attention. Just that little bit of time could end up making a huge difference.

  • Be trustworthy and honest - If you are honest and trustworthy, you don’t have to worry that you may say something wrong. These traits are really important when it comes to communication.

  • Adapt your ideas to others - When you get an idea, you form a mental picture. There will be times that you will not be able to convey that picture to others. So you will have to find a different way to share your idea so that it is understood. This means you have to know your audience.

  • Stay in the moment - You must not get distracted. You must pay attention to your audience.  You have to be there when you are speaking and listening. Try restating the idea as you understand it before inserting your idea.

  • Be patient and open-minded - Understand that you may not be communicating as effectively as you’d like. Be patient with both yourself and your audience. Keep an open mind. Communication is always possible. Look for new ways to share and understand.

  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues - This is important. It is important to listen, but you also must see. Be conscious of your non-verbal cues and watch for those of your audience. Those cues may actually say more than the words being spoken. During email communication, these nonverbal cues cannot be seen. That is one big reason emails can communicate the wrong information.

  • Don’t assume everyone understands - Follow up. Did you really understand the conversation? Did your audience truly understand?

  • Hone your skills - Ask for feedback from your audience. Ask for suggestions to make yourself better a better communicator.

Have you made an effort to communicate more effectively? Which idea above are you willing to try?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mentoring Goals Setting & Analysis – (Final entry of a 3 part Series)

Within mentoring relationships, mentees learn best by applying what they are learning. With the guidance of a mentor, DKG members are supported as they practice different roles and test their skills and readiness to find solutions to different problems. In this process it is helpful to set and prioritize goals, and outline activities that are needed to achieve those goals. SMART goals are specific and accomplishable. They are:


As part of setting goals, mentees work with their mentor to assess strengths and weaknesses and prioritize action as needed. Some questions could be:

  • What makes you think there is a problem?
  • Where is it happening?
  • How is it happening?
  • When is it happening?
  • Who is it happening with?
  • Why is it happening?

And finally the strategy is created: ‘A problem is happening because. …… and what we can do is ………’

Through this analysis mentees improve confidence as they overcome challenges and obstacles. Mentors and mentees develop analytical skills, sharpen problem-solving skills, become better leaders, and contribute to the success of DKG.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How Can You Use QR Codes?

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information (Wikipedia). A QR code can pull up a web page, text, or geographic coordinates; give details about a product; or even help you find Pokemon. Snapchat redesigned its icon as a QR code and provides a Snapcode or Snaptag as a way to follow people.

Why would I want to use a QR code?
In the classroom, it can eliminate the frustration of a long web address and can take students directly to a designated site. QR codes save time and are easy to make. Want more uses? THIS site will give you 40!

On any level of DKG, there are many uses. After a  presentation, provide a QR code that leads to additional materials. Put a QR code in your newsletter to link to your website.  A QR code on your business card can take interested members to your website, LinkedIn or Facebook page. Allow them to click a QR code to enroll in an event such as your convention.

How do you scan a code?
You can scan a QR code with an app on your smartphone. The DKG app has a built-in QR code reader. Find it under “More”. Using an app and your smart phone’s camera, it is easy to scan a code. Apps are available for iPhone and Android. evaluated 11 apps. Many of these are free. In the list, Kaspersky’s QR Scanner is notable because it also protects you from dangerous links.

Can I make a QR Code?
Although there are apps to generate QR codes, the online versions are better. A recent blog by a developer and Social Media Manager evaluated 7 of the best free online QR code generators.

Did you get a QR scanning app and scan the code above? Wasn’t it easy? Now it is time for you to make your own code! I made the QR code above at the following website:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Delta Kappa Gamma Statement of Neutrality

A strength of DKG women is their knowledge and involvement in the world of education and events that impact educators and learners. DKG members ask questions before they take action. They take action,
use their voices, and know they make a difference. They are reasonable and open-minded, and they live in the world with passionate care.

Controversies surrounding the transition of power in the United States have motivated DKG members to ask how the Society itself can "take a stand." In response to these inquiries, we offer the following statement of nonprofit neutrality.

Statement of Neutrality

As individuals, DKG members cherish the personal right of free speech. As leading women educators, DKG members want to--and should--take a stand on important issues. Purpose 4 of the Society, in fact, encourages members "To initiate, endorse and support desirable legislation or other suitable endeavors in the interests of education and of women educators."

In contrast to speaking as an individual, however, "speaking" on behalf of an international, nonprofit organization is a complex endeavor. First, in the United States, the IRS restricts political and advocacy involvement of nonprofits; penalties can include revocation of nonprofit status. Second, the
DKG Constitution, echoing Purpose 4, dictates in Article VIII, Section C., f. “that the committee (Educational Excellence Committee) shall study and recommend action on professional issues and shall urge the state organizations to initiate, endorse and support desirable legislation or other suitable endeavors in the interest of education and women educators." The International Standing Rules further state in 8.102, c. “Legislative action shall be based on a thorough understanding of the issues involved in supporting excellence in education, equality for women, and a safe, peaceful educational environment.” The Rule continues in d: “Legislative activity shall be concerned with educational issues, not with candidates or political parties.”

Of course, the difference between issue advocacy and political intervention can be very difficult, which leads to the third point of complexity regarding "speaking" on behalf of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Although united in a genuine spiritual fellowship, we are an organization of diversity--of various positions, experiences, opinions, passions, values and beliefs. The Society ultimately can only "speak" through formal consensus of members on legislative matters; without such formal consensus, neutrality must be the position for this nonprofit organization.

Thus, when issues or controversies arise, each member must follow her personal journey to act on her passions and beliefs, whether by contacting a legislator, writing an op-ed piece for a local paper, using social media under her own name, or organizing or participating in a march or demonstration.   We support our love of DKG best, as well as represent our personal values, by acting with grace and supporting our organization as one that includes women with many different viewpoints-- sometimes represented in the same chapter.

February 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

Reflections on CTAUN 2017

When you hear the word “refugee” what comes to mind? Boat people from the Viet Nam era or maybe Latin Americans fleeing their homes to settle in the Southwest part of the United States? Perhaps you think about the pictures you see on the news or Facebook of the many Syrians desperately looking for somewhere to go.
                Refugees: The 21st Century Challenge was the title of the 18thAnnual CTAUN (Committee on Teaching About the United Nations) Conference held at the UN in New York. More than 65 million people in this world are considered refugees, with over 21 million of those being forcibly displaced from their homes. Currently 51% are children under the age of 18.
                At the conference we heard from speakers who shared these facts among many others. Did you know that the United States has accepted the smallest amount of refugees of any country in the world?
What spoke to me the most was the panel of student refugees who shared their stories. One young man said although he wanted desperately to attend school in the refugee camp it was often a choice between standing in line for food or going to the classes. Another explained that being resettled is not the end. Integration is very challenging. The student stories humanized the issue for me. They are real people who want the same things we do: food, water, an education, and most importantly a HOME.

At the conclusion of the conference a CTAUN Statement was read and adopted by the over 700 in attendance. This statement can be found under DKG@UN Relationship on the Educational Excellence Committee page under the Committees tab at  To find out more information about the conference and to get a complete summary visit .
DKG Members at CTAUN 2017

Setting up a Mentoring Program – (Part 2 of a 3 part Series)

As you begin, here are some things to consider to help align the objectives of the mentee with the knowledge, experience and expertise of the mentor.

1.      Specify short term and long term objectives
2.      Clarify the preliminary developmental goals
3.      Discuss the reciprocal expectation
4.      Discuss pros and cons of a strategic plan
5.      Decide how, where and when to meet
6.      Discuss how each person likes to communicate
7.      Schedule feedback sessions
8.      Agree on the duration of the program

As in teaching, mentoring is most effective when learning is modeled or shared. It’s important that mentees feel safe and are not judged when asking questions. This encourages them to be open to receive new ideas and strategies as they learn what others are doing in the organization.

The benefits of mentoring extend beyond the mentee and the mentor. A one-on-one meeting in a confidential environment attracts, motivates and retains talent. This interaction creates opportunities to share DKG values and experience. 

Watch for our next blog: Mentoring Goal Setting & Analysis

In the comments below tell us about someone who has been a special mentor. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Marketing? Yes, Marketing!

 Publicity is the familiar term. Yes, we want publicity for DKG--that is, we want to give out information that lets others know who we are and what we do. But beyond garnering publicity, we must also market our organization,  promoting its products or services. Actually, marketing comes in two flavors, internal and external. Internal marketing is directed to current members, while external marketing is directed to the key women educators who are not yet members and to the educational community as a whole.

Internal marketing helps members understand and realize the benefits of membership. It is not just updating a website, writing a blog post, and sending newsletters. It isn’t just communicating, either. It’s also about listening to what members want and need and delivering that to them. We must never forget current members. They sustain the Society and are the public face of our organization.

Most members are proud of what they do and love DKG--which creates an opportunity for great external marketing--letting others know about our organization and its remarkable role in impacting education worldwide.  Some, however, get anxious when they think they must have an “official” explanation or memorize something, such as a mission statement. Instead, encourage members to focus on and share why they love our organization -- they already know that by heart!

Every member should be able to answer these questions:
  • What does Delta Kappa Gamma do?
  • What makes DKG special?
  • Who does DKG help? (key women educators and education worldwide.)
  • How does DKG do that? (promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Millions of dollars in scholarships and grants are invested in study and projects proposed by members.)

Ask members to tell stories about how our organization has changed their lives or the wonderful projects that have helped teachers and the community. Create videos of their stories. With every electronic correspondence, include website and Facebook addresses. Create engaging presentations and post them on Slideshare. Create visuals for chapter or state organization websites, newsletters, social media posts and more. Leverage Canva to help create those visuals. (See our blog on Visuals). Make sure members know about these resources and can share with potential members and with others who would be interested in what our Society accomplishes.

With the help of all these tools, you can create a myriad of content, showcasing member knowledge and expertise, doing event recaps, highlighting donations to education, and sharing members’ impact.

You are doing a lot of this now. Why not capitalize on it?

Graphic is from Pixabay and rated CC0

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