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Better Conversations
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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments About the Author Chapter 1: Radical Brokenness and Better Conversations Chapter 2: The Better Conversations Beliefs Chapter 3: Listening With Empathy Chapter 4: Fostering Dialogue Chapter 5: Asking Better Questions Chapter 6: Connecting Chapter 7: Finding Common Ground Chapter 8: Redirecting Toxic Words and Emotions Chapter 9: Building Trust References Study Participants Index

About the Author

Jim Knight has spent more than two decades studying professional learning, effective teaching, and instructional coaching. He is a Research Associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and the President of the Instructional Coaching Group. Jim wrote the first article on the topic of instructional coaching for The Journal of Staff Development, and his book Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction (Corwin, 2007) popularized the idea. Jim edited Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives (Corwin, 2009) and co-authored Coaching Classroom Management (Pacific Northwest Publishing, 2010). Jim's other books include Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach to Dramatically Improving Instruction (Corwin, 2011), High-Impact Instruction: A Framework or Great Teaching (Corwin, 2013), and Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction (Corwin, 2014). Jim's articles on professional learning, teaching, and instructional coaching have appeared in journals such as The Journal of Staff Development, Principal Leadership, The School Administrator, Kappan, and Educational Leadership. Frequently asked to lead professional learning, Jim has presented to more than 30,000 educators from six continents. He has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Kansas and has won several university teaching, innovation, and service awards. Jim also writes the Radical Learners blog.

Reviews

"I thought I knew how to have a conversation; I've had millions of them. Some were good, others not so much so. But I want to have GREAT conversations, and Jim Knight has taught me how. The proof is in: better conversations are possible and the results are worth the investment." -- Douglas Fisher
"Better Conversations stimulates the mind, spirit, and soul of those who coach, regardless of their role or position, by unpacking and reshaping the mental models that drive how they think, speak, and act. . . I found myself frequently thinking about how helpful this book will be to nearly every human who interacts with others whether in school or beyond." -- Joellen Killion
"I read more education books than I care to admit. Some are good, some are bad, and very few are great. Jim Knight's book Better Conversations is BRILLIANT! Insightful, innovative, and practical are the three words that kept coming to me when I was reading and learning from his book. Jim treats the subject of communication as an art and gives all of us, regardless of position or years of experience, practical ways to use our voice to improve the teaching and learning environment, as well as ourselves!" -- Russell J. Quaglia
"Better Conversations is just what the title says. Jim Knight moves learning conversations ahead for educators to deepen trust, meaning, and actions. He summarizes current thinking from multiple authors that will make learning for adults and students better. Activities at the end of each chapter can be used for self-reflection, team learning, and schoolwide focus on learning. The vignettes are real issues in schools, which makes this book very important for our profession." -- William Sommers

"Doing the Better Conversation study, I think I have started to see a better version of myself, and who doesn't want that? . . . "

-- Ben Collins

"The Better Conversations process pushed me to video record myself in the same way that I ask others to engage in video protocols with the purpose of deeper understanding. Reflecting on my experiences felt like a gift I gave myself. I actually savored the time and experience of answering questions and considering my strengths as well as areas in which I can grow."

-- Michelle Murray

"I find that I am using the Better Conversations process in all walks of life, not just in professional coaching. I am seeing aspects of my personal life differently because I am focusing on what I can do to control my reactions to situations. It is forcing me to think more about practicing what I preach."

-- Ron Lalonde

"I've learned a lot by reading through the materials, practicing the activities, and changing entrenched responses. I have slowed down, learned to listen, and become keenly aware of choices I have in communicating with those I come in contact. This has become a very empowering series of skills."

-- Julie Coburn

"I have been able to carry these practices into conversations with my children, which is really making for some great dialogue. When I talk to them and not judge what they say and truly listen and treat them as equals in the conversation, I find that they share more with me."

-- Nicole Patton

"Video forced me to take a hard look at my coaching skills and practices, as well as my relationships with the staff I work with. I have realized the true power of video through watching myself interact with others, and it has made me more willing and excited to continue using video to improve my communication skills."

-- Shana Olson

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