Our new Head of Campus introduced me to ‘Appreciative Inquiry’. Here is an oft cited definition of what ‘AI’ is: “At its heart, AI is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around them. AI is not so much a shift in the methods and models of organizational change, but AI is a fundamental shift in the overall perspective taken throughout the entire change process to ‘see’ the wholeness of the human system and to “inquire” into that system’s strengths, possibilities, and successes. ”
I read the book “Conversations Worth Having” on Scribd. This is a subscription service, you pay $9 AUD a month and get fantastic access to books, documents and podcasts. I like reading non-fiction on Scribd because of the easy highlighting you can do with both Scribd and Diigo. I like Scribd better than Audible and Amazon.
What is ‘Appreciative Inquiry’?
AI can be the catalyst for organisational or behavioural change and can be used in all situations where humans interact. Stavros describes it as follows: “AI consists of the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them and that solving tough problems from that perspective results in creative solutions, which is life-giving for people.” The idea of Appreciative Inquiry resonates with me because I try to always take a strengths based approach in my dealings with people and the world, rather than a deficit approach. I try to see the best in people, situations and organisations. AI is all about looking at strengths, rather than weaknesses and deficits.
Appreciate inquiry is so called because you ask questions about and investigate what is good. Your inquiry appreciates and builds on the good and the successful, rather than identifying and investigating what is negative and wrong. Continue reading
- Excerpt from: Stavros, Jacqueline, Godwin, Lindsey, & Cooperrider, David. (2015). Appreciative Inquiry: Organization Development and the Strengths Revolution. In Practicing Organization Development: A guide to leading change and transformation (4th Edition), William Rothwell, Roland Sullivan, and Jacqueline Stavros (Eds). Wiley, source (back)
- Link to Conversations Worth Having on Scribd: . https://www.scribd.com/book/375406194/Conversations-Worth-Having-Using-Appreciative-Inquiry-to-Fuel-Productive-and-Meaningful-Engagement (back)
- From Conversations Worth Having, Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful, Engagement, Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres. Page unknown because I took notes in Scribd via Diigo, which didn’t include page numbers, further citations will just be “Conversations worth having” (back)
My school is currently trialing and evaluating different forms and modes of professional development. I did some reading to gain perspectives on how to evaluate the effectiveness of professional development.
I read two articles about PD evaluation, both by Thomas Guskey, who seems to have made this his academic niche.
Article 1: What Works in Professional Development?
Abstract of “What works in Professional Development“: A research synthesis confirms the difficulty of translating professional development into student achievement gains despite the intuitive and logical connection. Those responsible for planning and implementing professional development must learn how to critically assess and evaluate the effectiveness of what they do.” You can read the article with detailed comments by a broad group of educators here: https://kami.app/J15eQMqxFzOk.
While this article is interesting, it is also questionable because its quite considerable conclusions seems to rest from just 9 ‘valid’ studies. All the other studies were dismissed because of problems with the methodology. So; it is too hard to do valid studies into the efficacy of Professional Development and its impact on student outcomes? Can we make any statements about the impact of PD on student outcomes? Jenny Gore would say she has evidence for the effectiveness of the Quality teaching rounds model.
- What Works in Professional Development?
Guskey, Thomas R.; Yoon, Kwang Suk
Phi Delta Kappan, v90 n7 p495-500 Mar 2009
https://tguskey.com/wp-content/uploads/Professional-Learning-5-What-Works-in-Professional-Development.pdf Accessed 29/02/20 (back)
I have really enjoyed reading Jim Knight’s “Better Conversations”. It is inspirational in the way it makes you mindful of what we do all day: Talk. We talk at, about, with and to each other. We all know how great it feels to have a truly wonderful, productive and invigorating conversation. What if more of our conversations could be even better? Knight provides some common sense approaches, but to call it ‘common sense’ is unfair because if having great conversations is common sense and easy, then why do we have bad/unproductive conversations, or conversations which could have been better?
I picked the 5 chapters I found most interesting and relevant, and used the mindmaps Knight provides at the beginning of each chapter as my guide to form my own notes and understanding. For this I used the software package MindJet Mindmanager, which our school provides for our students and created this mindmap overview: Better conversations Jim Knight (also see below)
- Better conversations (Ch1)
- The Better Conversations Beliefs (Ch 2)
- Ask better questions to foster inquiry (Ch5)
- Redirecting toxic words and emotions (Ch8)
- Building Trust (Ch9)
My key takeaways: Continue reading
Over the last few weeks I read ‘Why don’t students like school’ by Daniel Willingham. It was a very popular book when it was published in 2009. While I enjoyed the read and got some good ideas and notions out of it, this book has not made a big impact on my understanding of teaching. I found the suggestions quite common sense and straight forward and found the style a bit too narrative at times.
I realise that Willingham is a professor of Psychology with a specialisation in neuroscience; something I am clearly not. But as an experienced teacher I have seen first hand the many things that he points out in his book.
While reading I like to make visual booksnaps using Piccollage. This strategy allows the information to rattle around in my working memory a bit longer; I DO something with the info which means that it will (hopefully) be stored better in my long term memory. Willingham explains this in Chapter 1, page 10, “How thinking works”.
I print the booksnaps off and will refer to them occasionally to remind myself of what I have read. You can download all of them here in one PDF.
This book is also part of the holiday reading for the Twitter #edureading group.
All the info you need can be found here: sites.google.com/view/educational-reading-group/
Here are my booksnap notes: Continue reading