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This webinar will look at how people who work with volunteers can engage in difficult conversations—when the need arises. Supervising volunteers may sometimes mean having to deal with uncomfortable or difficult situations. We will look at how to most effectively address these issues and have those conversations.


This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Anyone in the ABE field who supervises volunteers

It’s never easy to give feedback to our coworkers, but it’s even harder when they are volunteers. Who wants to tell a volunteer that they need to change what they are doing? But we owe it to our students and to the volunteers themselves to provide effective supervision that contributes to the best possible outcome for our students. And that means having the hard conversations.

What do we say to a volunteer who is always late? Who talks too fast, too loudly, or just too much? Who answers questions for the students or does the work for them? Who doesn’t have clear boundaries? Who is getting increasingly confused in the classroom as they grow older?

If these situations are familiar and make you cringe, join us for this webinar as we dive into the topic of how to approach difficult conversations with our volunteers. Building off of Jennifer Abram’s book Having Hard Conversations, we’ll cover:

  • How we need to adjust our approach and expectations to the unique situation of volunteers
  • Why we hesitate to give this feedback and the impact of not speaking up
  • How we can vary our approach to best suit the volunteer
  • Real-life scenarios and analyze the actual language we might use to bring things up
  • When, if ever, it’s better to leave things unsaid
Learning Objectives: 

Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Identify reasons we avoid having difficult conversations with volunteers and the benefits of addressing issues directly
  • Be better prepared to engage in effective discussions with volunteers
05/18/2017 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
PD Center: 
Topic Area: 
ABE/Adult Education
Educational Leadership
Volunteer Coordinators
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