What is Appreciative Inquiry in the School?

Appreciative Inquiry

is perhaps, the single most effective tool for large scale change, problem solving and creating a positive learning environment available to the school system.

Let me ask you a question:

“In what ways did your most transformational moment with a student impact both you and the student?

It feels pretty good to think of the answer doesn’t it? And it is a pretty rich question isn’t it?

Well-formed questions are valuable because in and of themselves they activate change. A well-formed question can change the moment and move a frustrated teacher, administer, parent or student instantly from a place of despair to a place of hope.

A question creates an internal dialog and connects people to others.

Think of the power a series of well-formed questions might bring, especially when every question and every answer was focused in one direction — on what is right.
This is the power of Appreciative Inquiry.

Appreciative Inquiry, like its cousin positive psychology, seeks to reverse the trend of trying to solve problems by remaining in the problem. When martin Seligman, the former president of the American Psychological Association began his work in positive psychology he surveyed the literature and found over 45,0000 journal articles focusing on disease mental illness and problems people have, but only 300 journal articles focused on happiness, resiliency and strength.

If you pick up a school administrators publication or a publication for teachers, like the psychology journals, almost every article will be focused on the problem. And although these articles will purport to have solutions to the problem they often miss the fundamental point that lasting change does not come from problem resolution but comes from discovering organizational strengths, people assets and creating positive connections when to this point there has only been problem avoidance.
Appreciative Inquiry is a researched and documented approach for change and you can bring this process to your school or community.

You can bring it to your organization by facilitating what are called AI summits or AI workshops — and the beauty here is that even in times of tension, change or stress the approach works.

Business and industry has adapted the principles of Appreciative Inquiry articulated in large part by David Cooperider at Case Western Reserve University. It has proven itself in case study after case study to improve the esprit de corp and transform negative culture.

But many schools, from elementary schools to graduate schools have used Appreciative Inquiry to create something wonderful rather than to simply move to a place of pre-crisis functioning.

And what is your goal? Isn’t it to leave a lasting legacy in the community?

You can do this, just like Bakke Graduate University did in 2012. Or just like Montessori School did in 2014. Although professionals other than myself guided the Metropolitan School District in Canada to success, the results of Appreciative Inquiry summits incrementally or substantially changed the dynamics of 6 out of 8 schools. It changed the culture of the schools, and transformed these schools into learning machines.

At Heathside school, A UK public school with over 1300 students, Appreciative Inquiry was chosen as the method for collaboration with the community and the strength of the process itself sustained the school during the traumatic disappearance and death of a student. The legacy of this work has made Heathside a model for other schools in connecting to the community and overcoming tragedy.

The mechanism for these changes is genrativity no positivity, Appreciative Inquiry is a positive process — but it generates something within, and what comes from within is far stronger than something given from the outside.

The case studies and journals which have collected data on Appreciative Inquiry show that the methods are practical, the potential unlimited and the approach is fundamentally stronger than traditional problem-solving approaches.

Do you want to generate success? And do it is a generative environment?

If your leadership team is looking for the most powerful method of transformation available contact me, I can train your administrators, parents, students and teachers in this incredible process.

I conduct workshops and training’s on Appreciative Inquiry for small and large groups. I can teach your leaders the processes or I can guide your organization and community through the process.

Contact Dr. Richard Nongard for more information (918) 236-6116