Roberto d’Erizans

Critical Conversations


As educational leaders, we are faced with conversations every day that are critical to ensuring the wellbeing and success of students, as well as educators and other constituents. These conversations are diverse in nature, and range in difficulty and complexity. Why are these conversations so important? Why do we avoid them? Why are they so critical to building teamwork? What are some frameworks that can help us navigate and focus each interaction

This hands-on workshop aims to build the skills for creating agreement and alignment by fostering open and transparent dialogue around difficult topics, which are often emotionally charged and risky. Participants will be exposed to conceptual frameworks that are used to structure productive conversations. Participants will learn and improve upon the skills that will allow them to integrate these practices into conversations that are unrehearsed. They will reflect on their own practices, and aim to improve the way that they speak and are heard.  This is a hands-on workshop and participants will take on the roles of mediator, actor, observer and active participant in a variety of scenarios.

Possible Outcomes

Participants will:

  • reflect on their current roles and the critical conversations needed to leverage the strengths in their school, department, etc.;
  • come away with a greater understanding of their role in difficult conversations;
  • gain tools and practice how to effectively structure dialogues to be more healthy and productive;
  • reflect on structural, organizational and cultural influences at play during critical conversations.
Intended Audience

Administrators, team leaders, department heads, or any other interested educator.

About Roberto

Roberto is currently the Middle School Principal at Graded, The American School in São Paulo, Brazil.  Prior to Graded, he served as K-12 Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the American School of London. Prior to this, Roberto developed and directed the Middlebury-Monterrey Language Academy for Middle and High School students at Middlebury College. He also taught Spanish, served as dorm parent and coach, and held other school leadership positions in a variety of independent schools in the USA.  Roberto grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. He holds a M.A. from Middlebury College.  A frequent writer, you can find some of his writing archived at

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