Thursday, January 8, 2009

Appreciative Inquiry

I am reminded these past few days as a result of an email exchange with a professor I know of the importance of creating change from a position of strength rather than deficit. This professor seems to believe that our work can be improved by pointing out everything that is or might be wrong. However, those persons who have engaged in change processes (like Michael Q. Patton) hold a different view. They believe that change, particularly profound change such as is required in our work, needs to come from a positive position.
As a result I have adopted Appreciative Inquiry as a basis for my work with schools in a type of participatory action research. The three basic questions I ask school communities to answer is:
  1. What is going well?
  2. How would it look ideally?
  3. What steps can we begin to take now to move from where we are to where we want to be?
Using this process, I have found the outcomes to be rich and successful.

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