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a More Effective Presenter

NESA at Doha

Robert Garmston, Ed.D.


Learning is a social event, and effective presenters provide the social glue
that binds groups together in the learning environment.
Kendall Zoller and Claudette Landry
The Choreography of Presenting, 2010

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014

Seminar Outcomes
Extend personal confidence and competence
Design sessions for greater success
Overcome situational nervousness
Give audiences more ownership for their learning
Tailor openings for group, mood and circumstances
Give state-of-the-art directions
Maintain credibility while responding to questions
Tailor presentations to four learning styles
Apply presentation strategies to the classroom
Convert resistance, hostility and negative energy

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Table of Contents
Seminar Outcomes 1

Strategy Recording Pages 3

Clock Partners 5

Personal Goals 6

Openers That Focus and Energize 7

Openings for Problematic Situation 7

Building Personal Confidence 8

Event Design 11

Choose a Presentation Stance 12

Essential Platform Skills 13

Responding to Questions 14

Notes 15

Giving Directions: Staff Development 401 16

Investing in Teacher Quality 21

What Novices Overcome 23

Elaborating the Complexity and Elegance of States of Mind 24

Walk About Review 28

Selected References 29

Teacher Quality: A Declaration 30

I Dont Do That Anymore 32

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 2

(Also see in chapter 3, Eight Strategies To Keep Your Audience Tuned In, p. 96)

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(Also see in chapter 3, Eight Strategies To Keep Your Audience Tuned In, p. 96)

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 4

Clock Partners
Make appointments with four people, one for 3, 6, 9, and 12 on the clock.
Record the appointments on this page.

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Personal Goals
As a result of this session:

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Openers That Focus and Energize
Provocative statements
I only have time to annoy you.

Enrolment questions
How many of you would you like.?

(Shorter than a war story)

Audience Concerns
Many of you may be concerned about parents put too much pressure on students to
get into a premier school.

Openings for Problematic Situations

(See also in chapter 4, Choreographing and Opening, p. 130 and Developing an Opening
Nonverbal Dance, p. 136)

Banned words

Whats the elephant in the room?

Whats the best and the worst that could happen today?

Choreograph the acknowledgement of resistance (see p. 130, p. 136)

Pace and lead the mood in the room


Present hard to hear news


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Adapted from Lemons to Lemonade: Resolving Problems in
Meeting, Workshops, and PLCs

Building Personal Confidence

Robert Garmston and Diane Zimmerman
Corwin Press

In this chapter we describe ways to manage the mind-body connection by monitoring ones
own internal states. These are always communicated in some way to the outside world and
this is particularly true when we are in front of groups, all eyes and ears upon us. Readers
will also find a number of experience- tested ideas to keep themselves functioning at their
very best when unexpected problems arise, making sound facilitation moves essential to the
groups success.
A presenter who is uncomfortable with public speaking is less effective because fear and
anxiety affect not only the level of presenter confidence but the level of trust the group has
in the him or her. A presenters quavering voice and excessive fidgeting or moving distract
group members and split their attention. Some group members worry, Is the presenter
OK? They miss what is being said and become uneasy about the presenters credibility.
Groups begin to loose confidence in the session and over time the efficacy of the group is
What is a presenter to do?
Telling yourself to be confident and not to be nervous usually makes the feeling worse.
However, reframing nervousness can help increase your feeling of security.
Believe that nervousness is there to support you. The Japanese martial art of aikido, literally
translated as "the way of blending energy" (Crum, 1987), leads us to this understanding.
From the perspective of aikido, all of life, including performance anxiety, is simply energy
with which to dance. Nervous energy is a mental phenomenon with physiological results,
and facilitators can achieve a desired state of calm through mental and physical preparation.
As you gain experience, your need to consciously manage your nervousness will decrease.
Mental rehearsal and practice help. In the last chapter we reviewed the trajectory from
novice to accomplishedknowing how, when and why to intervene builds confidence. And
of course, success breeds confidence.

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Connecting Mind and Body
The body and mind are connected. Treating one addresses the other. To reframe
nervousness, try tested physical and mental techniques. As you practice these strategies,
develop the personal patterns that best suit you.

l. Breathe.
The first principle of public performance is to monitor and adjust your oxygen levels. The 3
1/2-pound mass we call a brain consumes 30% of the bodys oxygen. When you experience
stress, your breathing becomes shallow and you hold your breath for brief periods of time.
The neocortex in your brain, the site of language and reasoning, needs a full supply of
oxygen to function. Stress instead shuttles precious oxygen to the limbic system to ready the
body for survival.
The study of aikido and neurophysiology intersect at this point. The word ki, in Japanese
(chi in Chinese, pneuma in Greek and prana in Sanskrit) comes from the notion of breath.
Breath is considered the fundamental energy that connects all things and is the source of all
creative action. The Eastern martial arts share this view. By controlling the flow of ki, the
martial artist allegedly can achieve extraordinary powers.i

2. Try Progressive Relaxation.
Tense and then relax the muscles in your body, one area at a time. For example, first tense
your toes and then relax them. Next, tense your feet and then relax them. Work your way up
through your ankles, then calves, and so on.

3. Walk.
Athletes walk and stretch before they enter the game. Walking and stretching warms up, not
only your muscles, but also your psyche. Walking vigorously just prior to a presentation
uses up adrenalin, increases oxygen in the body, and relaxes the large muscles.

4. Center Yourself Physically.
When you are centered, you become more in touch with who you are and depend less on
outside approval. The centered state is simple, natural, and powerful.
To center yourself:
Allow both your arms to drop naturally to your sides.

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Spread your feet so that they are appropriately balanced beneath you.
Take several long, deep breaths.
With each slow exhalation, imagine the tension flowing out of your body from head
to toe.
Allow your spine to lengthen; mentally reach toward your hair and pull a strand of it
up so that your neck is elongated and your spine is comfortably stretched.
Imagine wearing a heavy overcoat causing your shoulders to relax.
Now, from this position, sway slightly back and forth for 10 to 15 seconds, gradually
decreasing the size of the sway until you reach center.
Next, imagine that you are pushing both feet into the floor, then release that tension.
Your body will let you know when you have a centered feeling from which your can present
at your best. Crum (1987) has additional methods for centering yourself.
The greatest source of stress is lack of experience. The next three strategies help overcome

5. Over Prepare. Over Prepare. Over Prepare.
Redirecting butterflies begins with planning. Pay careful attention to allocating time as you
develop the meeting agenda and provide appropriate strategies for group tasks during the
meeting. Get very clear and specific about what you will say in your opening comments. If
this is a special occasion and you feel particularly nervous, memorize the first seven
minutes so that you can deliver the lines even if you close down mentally. In particular, be
clear about how you will describe yourself and your role, the meeting outcomes, the
opening inclusion activity, and any comments you will make about the agenda. Plan to stand
still during the opening so people can take your measure. Anticipate potential problem
spots in the meeting and be prepared with some intervention approaches.

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Event Design
(See also chapter 2, How to Design Effective Presentations, p. 35)

Three Perennial Issues!

Who am I?


What are my outcomes?


Not now

Who is coming and what filters do they bring?

Four audience types

Disposition or mood

Adults as learners

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Who am I?
Choose a Presentation Stance


Who am I?

What are my outcomes?

Expert What filters are here?




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Essential Platform Skills

Congruence allows elegance maximum results with minimum effort.
(See also chapter 4, The New Science of Nonverbal Skills, p. 119)

Choose voice

Frozen gesture

Attention first

Visual paragraph

Freeze body

Third point

Out there

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Responding to Questions
(See Chapter 3, Respond to Questions and Maintain Your Credibility, p. 103)


1. Listen for syntax

2. Respond to table tennis responses

3. Use feel, felt, found for resistance

4. Use satisfy, satisfy, delay for broken records

5. Respond with paraphrases

6. Respond with a question

7. Separate the answer from new content


1. Write three questions you might be asked in your presentation, each on a 3 by 5 card.
2. Shuffle cards.
3. First player draws a card and reads it to the player on his or her right.
4. This person responds to the question.
5. First player reveals his/her reaction to the response.
6. The group brainstorms other ways the question might be responded to.
7. Repeat the cycle.

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Giving Directions: Staff Development 401
Robert Garmston and Carolyn McKanders
Unpublished Article

Weve trained hundreds of bright, competent people to make presentations on a range of

topics and discovered that giving directions is more complex than we first thought. Here are
some things weve learned by whispering in the ear of a novice just before they gave a
direction and from interviewing them, and experts in the field about their thought
Our first realization was that there are four domains for giving directions. First is the simple
form that is used repeatedly with minor variations. Turn to your neighbor and name the key
points for you on this topic. This pattern can be memorized after a few uses. Next is what a
presenter says when introducing directions from a pre-prepared power point slide. Third is
giving multi-step without a chart or power point. Fourth, and the most complex, is working
from scratch designing directions for an activity when none exists.
Some aspects are common in the delivery of each of the types.
Getting Attention
Both Grinder (1993) and Zoller (2010) strongly advocate that attention should always be
the first order of business. To gain the groups attention, the leader combines these features
as follows:
She stands upright with head and body still in a posture of calm and centeredness
with her feet aligned under the shoulders. Grinder and Zoller call this a credible
She may also use a gesture, frozen in space which universally communicates be
silent more is coming. This might be a finger in the air, a palm directed at herself, or
some other natural sign congruent with the message.
She uses a credible voice to get attention, using a brief phrase like Please look this
way. This voice form is one in which the tonal pattern is flat and tends to curl down
at the end of sentences. This voice pattern universally is received as This is
important information, please attend.
She remains still, as in freezing the posture and holds the position until almost all
members are silent and focused.
When the group is attentive and still, she breaks eye contact, breathes, and step into
another space. Again, with a credible voiceshe give the next direction.
As groups tire, group members often respond less to verbal directions. During a working
session we often use a hand signal to redirect attention from small group conversation to
full group work. Once again assume a credible stance, stand still and now hold one hand in
the air as a prearranged signal for silence. As group members notice the gesture they copy it
signaling to those who may not have noticed that you need their attention. The visual nature

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 16

of this strategy gets attention from those who process visually, and their silence alerts
auditory processers to pay attention (Garmston & Wellman, 2002).

Using a Prepared Slide
Give an oral overview before showing slides with several steps so people know where this is
going. Most often, directions are digested best when one line of the slide is revealed at a
time, giving the presenter time to elaborate. Occasionally the first item will call for members
to locate materials, or arrange for a new partner. When this is the case, have members
execute the directions before showing the next steps. The last step in direction giving should
be a check for understanding. What questions might you have about how to do this well? is
well phrased. Do you have any questions? is not. Leave the slide on the screen while the
group begins its work. Remove the slide when no longer needed for guidance.

Managing Multi-Step Directions
If there are subsets to the directions, the presenter will use a visual paragraph for maximum
congruence. In this pattern she gives the first direction, pauses, breaks eye contact by
dropping her head, moves to a new spot, looks up and gives the next direction. This pattern
can be used for up to 4 stages in direction giving. Imagine the following statements (with
expanded information for each) delivered with the visual paragraph after each of the first
three directions. Figure 1 shows what might be said giving multi-step directions in a
meeting or a classroom.

Directions in a Meeting Directions in a Sixth Grade Class

First you will brainstorm Open your books to page 32
Next you will clarify Put your finger on the right hand column
Third you will advocate of problems

And finally you will rank what is most Answer the odd numbered problems
important to you. Place your paper in the basket when

Figure 1. Supporting Multi-Step Directions Visually

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Beyond Fundamentals
We were surprised to learn that the thinking processes that support direction giving are
incredibly complex. At the simplest level, they include guidelines such as using declarative
statements and a minimum number of words. Another level regards a direction giving map
we learned when interviewing Bruce Wellman, a noted professional developer who seems
to effortlessly give profoundly direct and effective directions. This is described in Garmston
and Zimmerman (Lemons to Lemonade: Resolving Problems in Meetings, Workshops and
When introducing processes in which the group is to engage, the facilitator employs the
what why how pattern. While each is important for the group to do its best work, the
how the rationale for the process -is most important. When members understand the
reasons for a process how it will serve them, potential resistance is reduced and
participation is more purposeful
What The next step is to brainstorm.
Why As you know, the purpose of brainstorming is to get as many ideas on the table
as possible. Questions or comments derail the process leading to a more limited and
less useful list.
How I will record the ideas on this chart paper. When you raise your hand I will give
you a number to place you in a queue so you know you will have turn and not worry
about being able to add your idea. If you have a question or comment, hang on to it.
We will come back to it at the next step.
The fourth, and most difficult task in direction giving regards composing directions where
none exist.

Designing Directions from Scratch
Some readers might like to think about how they would go about composing a direction to
participants to explain their reasoning about the importance of consulting and coaching in
supporting new teachers. When you think about how you do this you probably notice that
youve gone allocentric attempting to hear the instructions as your participants might hear
them. Lets assume that the group is familiar with the definitions as Wikipedia offers them
Consultation - to assist an individual or group of individuals to clarify and address
immediate concerns by following a systematic problem-solving process.
Coaching - to enhance a persons competencies in a specific skill area by providing a
process of observation, reflection, and action.
What we noticed when we examine our thinking was that we had to define reasoning. If we
wanted participants to dialogue, engage and learn from one another we might use the word
explore in the directions. Pairs: Explore the benefits of consulting and coaching for new

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 18

teachers. We might wonder what difference the word for or to new teachers might make.
If on the other hand, we desired a conversation that activated prior instruction with greater
specificity, we might develop a scaffold that again, begins with what we meant by reasoning.
Such a scaffold might look like the following. We would reword the directions to compare
and contrast the importance of consulting and coaching.
1. Compare and contrast the benefits of consulting and coaching for new teachers
2. List the benefits of consulting
3. List the benefits of coaching
4. List the limitations of each
5. Compare and contrast your findings
6. Given the above, summarize your thinking about the relative importance of each

Now, with this first draft, we would seek to minimize words while maintaining clarity.

Pairs: Compare and contrast consulting and coaching benefits for new teachers
1. Make two lists. Record the benefits of each.
2. Record the limitations of each.
3. Identify what is same and different.
4. Write a matchbook statement summarizing your conclusions.

The Potentially Pernicious Pronoun
What separates the good presenter or facilitator from the expert, is the use of pronouns. For
some, it is difficult to replace the habit of saying, I want you to look this direction, with
phrases like Please turn and look at me for next steps. The difference? In the first the leader
is asking members to respond out of relationship serving the presenter appropriate in the
lexicon for a primary teacher, but not a person working with adults. Since we presume an
overarching goal of professional development is fostering a sense of equality in a training or
meeting room, and supporting norms of autonomy, self directedness and self monitoring we
advise careful scripting of pronouns in giving directions.
Who you are in relationship to the group should inform your use of pronouns. If you are a
member of a group who has stepped up to facilitate the work may well be ours. If you are
external to the group, referring to the work as ours may carry inferences interfering with
the clarity of the groups work and its development. Compare these two statements. Here is
what I want you to do next. or- Listen carefully as I describe this process. Again, the
former tends to infantilize the group, the latter acknowledges them as responsible adults.
Begin a list of phrases you want to incorporate when you give directions. You can start with

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 19

these: Your next steps are.; This process has three phases.; Take a moment to complete
your thoughts and prepare to share your ideas with the group.

The Final Step
Finally, to the presentation of the direction itself. We've learned to mentally rehearse just
before we give the direction. Sometimes we have scripted what we will say. Other times we
simply stand in the space in which we are about to speak and put the words in our head,
before we talk. If during the directions we notice we have slipped and used an unintended
pronoun, we stop, correct ourselves, and tell the group why. This transparency is valued not
only because it equalizes the relationship we are all learners here but teaches principles
of leadership.

Giving clear directions is a fundamental task for teachers, presenters, meeting facilitators
and anyone who works with groups. Complexities still exist, even when working with pre -
developed directions on power points. The leader must still get the groups attention, and
orient participants regarding the task ahead. What-why-how is a fundamental part of this.
So much of this is contextual, that giving directions, even for the most experienced of us, will
always be a challenge.

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Excerpted from

Investing in Teacher Quality

Art Costa, Robert Garmston and Diane Zimmerman
Teachers College Press

Building Cognitive Capital: The Presenter Can Also Mediate

Pick up most any book about the function of presenting and you will read about outcomes.
This is appropriate as to present is to produce learning. A presenters goals are to extend
and enrich knowledge, skills, perceptions, mental capacities or attitudes and to help these to
be applied in people's work. Premier presenters are guided by clarity of instructional
outcomes and the continual assessment of goal achievement. But presenters with an
orientation toward mediation also have goals with a longer reach. We call these aims, as in
an aim might be to go east, but there is always more east to travel. If we go east from San
Francisco we can reach Chicago (a goal), but this is not as east as we can go. We can also go
to New York, or even Spain. Presentation aims take into consideration that perception is
reality that states of mind can be mediated through presentation design and execution and
that transformational change can occur as a result of presentations.

To transform is to change. We speak of transformation as in the unexpected growth

occurring in quantum leaps. Many times weve observed participants transformed in a two-
day workshop, not because of the development of knowledge or skills, but by combining
these ingredients with a focus on efficacy, consciousness, interdependence and
craftsmanship. Just as in physics where a quantum leap is the discontinuous change of the
state of an electron in an atom or molecule from one energy level to another, not passing
through stages but leaping ahead without touching the intermediate phases, so too, do
participants exit these workshops different from when they arrived. These changes are
abrupt, do not follow a step-by-step pattern as we see in some learning models and can be
counterintuitive like the wave-particle duality of energy.

The change, as readers are now familiar, is toward higher levels of consciousness, greater
flexibility, enhanced craftsmanship and efficacy, and more intense interdependence related
to the learning journey each participant travels. Conceptual tools that help a presenter assist
others on this trip include presuppositions about the learners: that they are sufficient,
capable, willing and wanting to learn. These presuppositions are valuable assets in that
presuming capability one sees capability, when one sees it and acts as if it is present,
participants respond as if it were so. Positive presuppositions are both a state of mind of the
presenter and reflected in presenter language. (As experienced educators. . .)

The aims for activating energy sources are implicit intentions. They do not appear in
brochures advertising the work, nor are they likely to be seen in the notes the presenter has
designed to guide the session. Rather, they are achieved through the intuitive use of sound
presentation strategies. Regarding energy, having participants stand, raise their arms and

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 21

breath deeply are all ways of oxygenating the brain. Take efficacy, for example, and the
matter of participant choice. Choice is provided in seating, in selecting learning partners
during the session, in reviewing outcomes and determining personal value, in selecting
topics in jigsaw activities, sometimes in a subtopic through the use of corners. In a corners
activity participants are asked to move to a corner of choice representing a subtopic of
greatest interest to them, subgroup into pairs or trios and explore why this topic is chosen
and what individuals can do to direct their own learning regarding it. Choice is given when a
presenter asks subgroups to indicate with raised fingers how much more time is needed on
an activity. Locus of control is shifted to participants when presenters refuse to intercede
with participant complaints and instead suggest ways the participant can resolve their own

We hold learning to be a social process as well as a cognitive one. Therefore, many

strategies support interdependence with members working in pairs, trios, quartets and
sometimes sixes. We make it a point that members work with different people during the
day, and if mixed roles are present, we see that many groupings are heterogeneous. The
tasks range from simple to cognitively complex, often requiring members to paraphrase one
another to check understanding, or collaboratively construct an artifact of their learning.
From Michael Grinder (1996)we learned that an aggregate of individuals is not a group.
What makes them a group is unison of responses so we engender strategies, particularly at
the beginning of sessions to elicit group responses. From the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in
Ashland Oregon, we have learned that seating in which members have at least a peripheral
view of others, leads to group cohesiveness and collective responsiveness. We have learned
that it is easier to change the behavior of a group than an individual because groups set
norms with which people comply.

Flexibility--perceiving from multiple perspectives--is encouraged though story and

metaphor. We know that story evokes a personal experience in which members search their
personal experiences to assign their own meaning to what is being told. We sometimes tell a
pump priming story to activate the resources needed for a learning experience. One
example is a story about a zip line in which the presenter, with full body animation,
describes the fear and apprehension just before letting go from the high platform and the
immediate rush of excitement that follows as the presenter swings, and hollers and laughs
his way down the line, illuminating members own reservoirs of courage as they execute a
challenging learning task. Sometimes we use a feel felt found with a member who is
seeing the negative in an innovation. We respond with I know just how you feel (or I know
teachers who feel like that). I felt like that when I started using the system, and now Ive
found, that it can be time saving, etc.

We intone craftsmanship by the nature of our instructions to groups, and the nature of the
learning tasks that often include a public reporting and critiquing. We have groups set
personal goals and reflect on their attainment. A concept attainment lesson demands
craftsmanship. And always, consciousness is king. From each learning activity we invite
reflection on the process. Of what were people aware? What did they learn about
themselves, the process and the group? Under what circumstances might this activity is
useful or not useful in their work? We may periodically step to the balcony and invite
attention to what is going on in the moment in the room.

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 22

What Novices Overcome
For both the novice facilitator and presenter, the inappropriate use of voice is a frequent
failing. Novices should know how to use the approachable, rather than credible voice when
giving directions, and the approachable for receiving information from the group. Do not
give directions in a way that communicates the group is doing something for the presenter
or facilitator. ("I'd like you to").
Instead, use - - "By doing this activity you will (benefit)..."

Five mistakes novice presenters make:
Tell stories or jokes unrelated to the content.
Give too much content and or be too hurried.
Offer too few opportunities for pairs or subgroups to process content.
Act as expert or parent. Parents take care of groups. Groups take care of themselves.
Experts distance themselves from groups.
Answer the wrong questions, give answers that are too long, only watch the person who
asked the question, and provide no separation between answer and new content.

Five mistakes novice facilitators make:
Talk too much - a ratio of 20% facilitator and 80% group member talk is a reasonable
starting place.
Fail to activate and engage members in inclusion activities which connect members with
others, the content, and the purposes of the session. Withhold knowledge about the
freedom, responsibilities, and opportunities they have in the meeting. Stated positively,
experienced facilitators work to engage efficacy, consciousness, and interdependence
with group. This also applies to presenting.
Paraphrase too little, too much, use too many words, use the wrong voice, and use the
wrong pronoun.
Dont "own the agenda". A facilitator who owns an agenda knows the intended outcome
for each item; is clear whether the group is informing, recommending or deciding, has
appropriate protocols or strategies in mind, and has thought through time allotments,
how to give directions, possible misunderstandings, or problems.
Exclusively act as expert or parent or friend.

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 23

Elaborating the Complexity and Elegance
of the States of Mind
Excerpted from
Cognitive Capital: Investing in Teacher Quality

Art Costa, Robert Garmston, and Diane Zimmerman

Teachers College Press

Efficacy is a particularly catalytic state of mind because our sense of efficacy is a
determining factor in the resolution of complex problems. Efficacious teachers have an
internal locus of control. They produce new knowledge. They engage in causal thinking.
They pose problems and search for problems to solve. They are optimistic and resourceful.
They are self-actualizing and self-modifying. They are able to operationalize concepts and
translate them into deliberate actions. They establish feedback spirals and continue to learn
how to learn (Bandura, 1982).
Effort and persistence, despite setbacks, are hallmarks of efficacy. The more efficacious we feel, the
more flexibly we can engage in critical and creative work. Developing effective thinking, therefore,
requires becoming increasingly self-referencing, self-evaluating, self-initiating and self-modifying.
We have translated these terms in to teacher behaviors in the supporting boxes.

Efficacious teachers: To act with confidence, meet challenges and cope with situations that
are new for them, teachers must feel that they are competent to control these situationsto
overcome difficulties, become familiar wit the new and the unknown, and approach them
with the expectation they will master them (Feuerstein, p. 80). Such teachers:
Have an internal locus of control;
Operationalize concepts and translate them into deliberate actions;
Pose problems;
Make causal links;
Produce new knowledge;
Are continuous learners seeking to modify themselves through feedback
Are optimistic and resourcefulself-actualizing and self-modifying.

Flexible thinkers are empathic. They are able to see through the diverse perspectives of others.
They are open and comfortable with ambiguity. They create and seek novel approaches and have a
well-developed sense of humor. They envision a range of alternative consequences. They have the
capacity to change their mind as they receive additional data. They engage in multiple and
simultaneous outcomes and activities. They draw upon a repertoire of problem solving strategies.
As noted in Garfields study of peak performers (1986), they practice style flexibility, knowing

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 24

when it is appropriate to be broad and global in their thinking and when a situation requires
detailed precision.
Flexible thinkers understand causal relationships allowing them to work within a rule-bound
structure to re-engineer rules to help, rather than hinder their work. They understand not only the
immediate reactions but are also able to perceive the bigger purposes. Like the queen in the game
of chess, the most flexible person is the one with most control. Recognizing options and willingness
to test them is the hallmark of flexibility.

Flexible Teachers are aware of and legitimize differences of opinions, tendencies, desires and
styles without necessarily accepting them. Flexible teachers search for and value the
differences between individuals an their unique behaviors. They are continually forming a
distinct and acceptant self-perception in relation to others. Such teachers:
Are willing to consider change;
Adjust to others styles and preferences;
Tolerate ambiguity;
Seek / generate alternatives;
See through multiple perspectives.

Those who exercise consciousness monitor their own values, intentions, thoughts, behaviors and
their effects on others and the environment. They have well defined value systems that they can
articulate. They generate, hold and apply internal criteria for decisions they make and they can
articulate their reasons and rationale for their actions and thoughts. They practice mental
rehearsal and the editing of mental pictures in the process of seeking improved strategies.
Consciousness means knowing what and how we are thinking about our work in the moment, and
being aware of our actions and their effects on others and on the environment. Consciousness is
the central clearinghouse for executive decision-making. It is the state of mind prerequisite to self-
control and self-direction. Consciousness means that we are meta-cognitively aware that certain
events are occurring, and we are able to direct their course.
The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to
give their attention to their intentions, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as
it takes to achieve a goal. Expanding consciousness informs improvement and helps to expose blind
spots or ideas not yet thought about. Developing effective thinking therefore requires the
development of this priceless resource, consciousness (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008).

Conscious Teachers: The complexity of classroom life and the conditions in which teachers
are called upon to react, make the ability to regulate behavior in socially and culturally
appropriate ways critical for teachers. The regulation of behavior is a product of an
individuals ability to impose thinking on actionsto examine oneself, to assess the situation,
and to decide how and when to react. Such teachers:
Are aware that certain events are occurring and are able to direct their course;
Monitor their own values, intentions, thoughts, behaviors and their effects on others and
the environment;
Have well defined value systems that they can articulate and generate;
Hold and apply internal criteria for decisions they make;

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 25

Seek improved strategies through practicing mental rehearsal and editing of mental

Craftspersons strive for perfection and pride themselves in their artistry. They value precision and
mastery. They seek refinement and specificity in communications. They generate and hold clear
visions and goals. They aspire for exactness of critical thought processes. They use precise
language for describing their work. They strive to make thorough and rational decisions about
actions to be taken. They test and revise, constantly honing strategies to reach goals. In short they
persist in service to their craft (Ames, 1997; Syed , 2010).
Craftsmanship is about persistence in striving for mastery, grace, and economy of energy to attain
goals. Creating internal measures of excellence and striving to perfect a craft means fidelity to an
aspiration. It means knowing that we can continually perfect our craft, and being willing to work to
attain our own high standards, and pursue refinement, practice and ongoing learning.

Craftsman-like Teachers: Teachers are required to cope with complex tasks, the likes of
which have never before been experienced. Meeting a challenge means being ready to be
involved not only in a familiar area but also in newer and more complex problems. Meeting a
challenge relates to something that does not already exist, rather it is anticipating potential
outcomes and strategies.
Strive to continually perfect their craft;
Set and work to attain personal high standards;
Pursue ongoing learning;
Seek precision, mastery, refinement and pride in their artistry;
Generate and hold clear visions and goals;
Strive for exactness of critical thought processes and communication;
Test and revise, constantly honing strategies to reach goals;
Attend to what they know and what they still need to learn.

Interdependent people have a sense of community: we-ness" as much as "me-ness (Sergiovanni,
1994). They are altruistic. They value consensus being willing to influence and be influenced by the
group in service of group goals. They contribute themselves to a common good, seek collegiality
and draw on the resources of others. They regard conflict as valuable, trusting their abilities to
manage group differences in productive ways. They continue to learn based upon their feedback
from others and from their consciousness of their own actions and effects on others. They seek
collaborative engagement knowing that all of us is more effective that any one of us.
Interdependence means knowing that we will benefit from participating in, contributing to our
work. According to Lev Vygotsky (1978) whos work concerned itself with how learning unfolds
within social contexts, suggests that interdependence grows intelligence:
"Every function in cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later on
the individual level; first between people (inter-psychological), and then inside (intra-
psychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 26

formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between
Interdependent people envision the expanding capacities of the group and its members, and value
and draw upon the resources of others.

Interdependent Teachers: A primary need of human beings is to share experiences with

their fellow man. The need and readiness to share with others our experiences and to
participate in their experiences is an adaptation necessity. There is great educational value in
sharing the emotional and cognitive/mental treasury of behaviors with others. In some large
schools and institutions, however, several hundred adults and children can live in the same
building in the closest of physical proximity and not know one another or greet one another
when they meet by chance. Interdependent teachers:
Know that they will benefit from working collaboratively;
Are altruistic and willing to change relationships to benefit the larger good;
Value consensus, while being able to hold their own values and actions in abeyance;
Lend their energies and resources to the achievement of group goals;
Contribute themselves to a common good;
Seek collegiality;
Draw on the resources of others;
Regard conflict as valuable and can manage group differences in productive ways;
Seek collaborative engagement knowing that all of us is more efficient that any one of us.

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 27

Walk About Review


Name Name Name


Name Name Name


Name Name Name

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 28

Selected References

Atkinson, C. (2005). Beyond bullet points. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press.

Garmston, R. (2013). The presenters fieldbook: A practical guide. Baltimore, MD: Rowan &
Garmston, R. (1998, Spring). Graceful conflict: When you care enough use the principles of
effective fighting. Journal of Staff Development, 19(3), 56-58
Garmston, R., & Wellman, B. (2013). The adaptive school: A sourcebook for developing
collaborative groups. (Rev. ed.). Baltimore, MD: Rowan & Littlefield.
(This book comes with access to a website housing 150 facilitation strategies.)
Garmston, R., & Zimmerman, D. (2013). Lemons to lemonade: Resolving problems in meetings,
workshops and PLCs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Garmston, R., & Zimmerman, D. (2013, April). The collaborative compact: Operating
principles lay the groundwork for successful group work. Journal of Staff
Development 34(2), 10-17.
Humes, J.C. (2002). Speak like Churchill: Stand like Lincoln. Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing.
Jeary, T. (1997). Inspire any audience. Dallas, TX: Trade Life Books.
Reynolds, G. (2008). Presentation Zen: Simple ideas on presentation design and delivery.
Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Weissman, J. (2005). In the line of fire: How to handle tough questionsWhen it counts. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Zoller, K. & Landry, C. (2010). The choreography of presenting: The 7 essential abilities of
effective presenters. Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin Press.

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 29


1. Schools are communities composed of many talented, unique individuals. Individual

teachers, while they have their own identity, pedagogical beliefs and cultures, are also
members of a larger community of educators. This duality often produces polarities.

2. Recognizing these polarities, informed leaders foster not only individual but also
collective efficacy, consciousness, flexibility, craftsmanship and interdependenceto
produce self-directed persons with the cognitive capacity for high performance both
independently and as members of a community.

3. Developing, protecting and liberating intellectual capacities is the most critical role of
leadership if we are to develop fully educated students.

4. Leaders wear many hats. Of these, Consulting, Presenting, Facilitating, and Coaching can
influence cognitive development. Mediating is the most powerful function for enhancing
others cognitive capital and can be practiced in each of the hats. The skills of mediation are
acquired, developed and practiced by the most effective school leaders.

5. Teachers, like all humans, have intellectual capacities that can be grown, transformed and
refined throughout a lifetime. Such intellectual capacities are often hidden, sometimes
repressed, and never fully developed. Under certain conditions teachers function with
diminished capacity because of stress, mistrust, fatigue or other emotional factors related to
school culture and organizational procedures.

6. Innate within all humans are the basic drives of: Efficacy, Consciousness4, Flexibility,
Craftsmanship and Interdependence. These are the drivers of our thoughts, actions,
decisions, interactions and relationships. They guide the moment-to-moment decisions of
classroom teachers, which in turn produce the observable actions and behaviours.
Conscious and skilful leaders by enhancing these drivers produce results in greater
mindfulness of staff, students, individual teachers and the school community. Mindfulness
fosters ultimate effectiveness in all human pursuits.

7. While this book is about teacher quality, it should be noted that these qualities are
dynamical, interacting and being influenced by many environmental factors often the most
significant being the school culture and social economic position of the community and

8. The quality of school leadership is one of the most powerful contributors to the
development of teacher quality. Standards, test scores and rubrics, which propose to define
quality but which are developed and imposed from outside the teachers involvement,

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 30

comprehension and commitment, lead to short term, shallow results and ultimately to

9. The ultimate purpose of any supervisory system must be to help teachers to become self-
supervising, self-evaluating, and self-modifying. As British author, Jane Austin is quoted as
saying: We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other
person can be.

10. The role of leadership is to help teacher develop cognitive capital and to gain the power
of attending to developing and guiding themselves. In the same way teachers should be
helping students to gain the power of attending to and guiding themselves as well.

Arthur L. Costa Robert J. Garmston Diane P. Zimmerman

Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 31

Order at Amazon.com

Dr. Robert Garmston, a high school dropout, whose

childhood is characterized by rejection,
abandonment, and abuse sees himself as having a
core of badness and as someone who is unlovable.
In his childhood, he spends more time in group
homes and in running away than with his adopted
family, the same family that tries to reverse his
adoption. The adrenalin of risk, adventure, and fear
drive him. He finds little to trust in others and lives
each day from a state of wariness. Life is
unpredictable for him; he has to take care of himself
because those who are supposed to protect him are

In spite of his youthful experiences, he earns

advanced degrees and creates a human
development program used throughout the world.
As an influential educator, he mesmerizes audiences
with his intellect. This book details the challenges of
his childhood and his journey out of the despair of
his drinking years into a university professor and
esteemed innovator of educational programs. This
is a must read for anyone working with youth. The
story of resilience inspires hope in each of us.

~Carolee Hayes, Co-director, Center for Cognitive


Garmston Becoming a More Effective Presenter November 2014 32