“AI’s fundamental approach
of seeking to discover, honor, and amplify what works, the life-giving
elements, is a “system” process that works at all levels,
with individual students, one-on-one student-teacher relationships,
classrooms, schools, school districts and communities.”
from Leadership at Every Level: Appreciative Inquiry in Education by Rich Henry
Appreciative Inquiry, for me, seems so logical, simple, true, and essential, that I forget not every knows this.
I am presently involved in a change process at one of the schools I work with. In the past, as the principal tells me, she found something she liked and was passionate about – some new pedagogical twist of the month – and tried to impose it on her teaching staff. Now she realizes that can never work, that what she was actually creating was a climate of insecurity, of ever-changing focus, and that teachers were actually shifting towards complacency with this.
Our goal with the present initiative is nothing less than to shift paradigms of teaching and to create a community of sharing and ongoing learning that will celebrate diversity. What this looks like will emerge as we go because, while we have a general vision of where we want to go, the details will be filled in by community members – teaching and support staff, parents, students, and the board.
Unlike previous change initiatives, the principal is moving slowly and is starting by changing the conversations that are taking place within the school’s walls. We are encouraging people to ask each other questions around their passion for teaching and learning and community. I am already seeing the change as conversations in the staff room are much more collaborative and focus on practice rather than complaints.
Our next step is provide a context for the conversation shifts, and a framework from within which the community can create their best future.
I am excited about seeing where this school goes.
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