Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

The art of conversation : needs, values and quality work in schools


Any school that wants to produce quality outcomes has to create an environment in which staff and students can satisfy their basic needs so that they can do quality work. To create such an environment, school leaders need to maintain quality conversations that are collaborative, sustaining, strategic and enabling. Without such conversations, an environment with quality relationships and outcomes cannot be achieved. At the philosophical foundations of such quality conversations are values and needs. One of the chief functions of good leadership is to create the conditions to foreground the balancing process, so that the behaviour staff and students choose can help them realise their quality world picture. Quality conversations are the 'glue' to create quality relationships, just as relationships are the 'glue' to hold communities together. The authors discuss the characteristics of collaborative conversations, sustaining conversations, strategic conversations and enabling conversations, along with the challenges in each for those in leadership. Successful educational leadership is based on mastering these types of conversations, which explicitly satisfy the basic needs of people so that they can do quality work and so that they can satisfy their needs. [Author abstract, ed]

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