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Using Appreciative Enquiry to Enhance Learning & Teaching across a University University of Gloucestershire 31 October 2007 Dr Andrew Comrie Director,

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Presentation on theme: "Using Appreciative Enquiry to Enhance Learning & Teaching across a University University of Gloucestershire 31 October 2007 Dr Andrew Comrie Director,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Appreciative Enquiry to Enhance Learning & Teaching across a University University of Gloucestershire 31 October 2007 Dr Andrew Comrie Director, Centre for Learning Development

2 How we got started with Appreciative Enquiry Led a team to the Change Academy in 2006 Focus on how to embed the QES to ‘drive continuous improvement of the student experience of learning and teaching’ We decided to proceed by using Appreciative Enquiry (AE)

3 Orientations of AE ‘The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths…making a system’s weaknesses irrelevant’ (Peter Drucker) ‘A leader is anyone who wants to make a difference at this time’ (Meg Whitley) ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’ (Peter Drucker)

4 Opening Enquiry Three Questions for Reflection

5 1. A “peak moment” in your organisational life? Share the story: the most memorable parts of the initiative, including challenges and innovations. Reflect on what made this successful You…what were your 3 best qualities, or experienced strengths?

6 2. When Do People in Your Organisation Feel Most Engaged and Passionate? A.Your observations and experiences of your institution When do people feel most passionate and connected at the University of Gloucestershire? Can you share an example of: “a hot team”; great innovation; high engagement and performance? B.Your Organisation’s Signature Strengths (continuity question): assuming the university will change in the future, what are those best qualities,signature strengths, and managerial assets, etc -that you would want to keep or build upon, even as UoG moves into a new and changing future? Can you give an example of those strengths in action?

7 3. Images of the Future (Your Organisation in 2012) We wake up - it is what do you see that is new, different, changed, better? I will be most proud of _________ in 2012 when…?

8 What is Appreciative Enquiry? Organisational Development – 1980s David Cooperrider PhD – Cleveland Clinic Conventional diagnosis ‘What’s wrong?’ Struck by positive co-operation, innovation, egalitarian governance Supervisor – Suresh Srivastva notes his excitement and suggests change in focus ‘What makes it work so effectively?’

9 Key principles of AE The organisation is created in our interactions The unconditionally positive question – ‘what gives life?’ Anticipatory reality – organisations change in the direction they enquire Change is emergent The future is not what it used to be

10 Deficit Theory of Change Identify problemmost schools, companies Conduct root causefamilies and organisations analysisfunction on an unwritten Brainstormrule… and analyse possibilities Action plans “Let’s fix what’s wrong and let the strengths take care of themselves” --Gallop Poll Metaphor: organisations are problems to be solved

11 Unintended Consequences of Chronic Deficit Discourse Fragmentation Few New Images of Possibility Sisyphus Syndrome – Exhaustion “The Experts Must Know”: Increases in Hierarchy Spirals in Deficit Language…Burning Issues Lose Their Power to Motivate and Inspire Breakdown in Relations/Closed Door Meetings/Fear

12 Deficit Management (deficit based change) Identify problem Conduct Root Cause analysis Brainstorm solutions & analyse Develop treatment – action plans or interventions Appreciative Enquiry (strength-base innovation) Appreciate “Best of what is” Imagine “What might be” Design “What should be” Create “What will be” Machine Metaphor: Organisations are “broken mechanisms to be fixed” Mystery Metaphor: Alive, emergent capacity “webs of infinite strengths”

13 Ap-pre-ci-ate,v., 1.Valuing… - The act of recognising the best in people and the world around us; - Affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials; - To perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, and excellence) to living systems. 2.To increase in value, e.g. the economy has appreciated in value. - Synonyms: valuing, prizing, esteeming, and honouring.

14 En-quire, v., 1.The act of exploration and discovery. 2.To ask questions; to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities. - Synonyms: discovery, search, study and systematic exploration.

15 The AE 4-D model of Positive Change Affirmative Focus Putting what you want most at the centre of the process “Begin with the end in mind” (Cove) Expectations shape performance Discover (positive) The best of what is good now through stakeholder engagement and exploration of the “best” experiences and hopes of the future Deliver (Capacity) Innovate what “should be” Ensure achievement and deliverables Sustain, learn, adjust Dream Envision what might be possible Develop provocative proposition and establish principles An ideal future based on the very best of the present Design What the ideal should be Address the organisational implications Develop key strategies, structures and processes

16 1 Appreciating the positive inherent generative potential in the present 2. Requires intentional re-framing: The classic choice: “glass is half empty or half full” 3. Affirmative topic choice Building and analysing what we want instead of what we don’t want

17 Topic Choice is a Process of Framing & Re-Framing Exercise: reflect on existing “problem” or “opportunity” How might it usefully be RE-FRAMED? Example problem: “cutting the student attrition rate” to a study of the factors that motivate “high level student persistence through to degree completion” Characteristics of Good Topics: - something we want -provides a lens to discover strengths & positive deviations from the norm -an opportunity focused energising frame for discovery -uses creative combinations of key words

18 Appreciative Enquiry at Surrey Training sessions for staff & students Interviews conducted by 23 staff & 19 students 94 staff interviewed (random sample) 89 students interviewed Overall – 117 staff and 108 students involved (Total N = 225)

19 Protocol Asks about good experiences of learning and teaching What people valued about these 3 wishes that would ensure that learning and teaching would always reach this high point Sum up in an image, metaphor, sentence Key themes extracted

20 Themes from staff interviews Interactive lessons – “It’s all about interaction… about getting students to DO things… There is joint problem solving, this gets the lecturer much closer to the class.” Relevance – “Real cases rather than theoretical” “I worked hard to get the most up to date examples.” Enthusiastic and capable students – “The students’ interest was a real motivator” “This module was … designed to get students enthusiastic” “It makes a difference if the students are engaged from an early stage”

21 Themes from staff interviews (cont.) Sense of achievement – “Seeing students become independent learners validates the effort and time I put in. Recognising that having good research and teaching is possible” “A positive cycle, students motivating tutor, tutor motivating students” Personal relationship/ enthusiasm – “This relationship probably helped sustain the commitment of students because they felt I cared about them as individuals” “I was approachable and accessible” Feedback – “Because of the well designed, managed and structured assessment, students receive feedback which is timely, rapid and useful” “Valued feedback from the students”

22 Results summary from student interviews Students appreciate: Enthusiastic staff – who want to be teaching. Well organised lectures – notes online. Learning principles for use outside the lecture. Group tutorials – ‘made learning interactive and fun’. Peer support ‘the students made a community’. Feedback – ‘you know where to pick up on in future.’

23 Comparison of Themes StaffthemesStudent themes 1.Interactive lessons 2.Relevance 3.Enthusiastic students 4.Sense of achievement 5.Relationship/Enthusiasm 6.Feedback 1.Enthusiastic staff 2.Well organised lessons 3.Relevance 4.Interactive lessons 5.Peer involvement 6.Feedback

24 Open Space Approach Involve staff & students in large venue Brief review of themes from AE How do we take these forward? Open Space Technology Format (Harrison Owen) Highly participative event that is participant led One Law and Four principles

25 The Four Principles Whoever comes are the right people. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Whenever it starts is the right time. When it is over, it is over.

26 The Law of Two Feet Whenever you are neither learning from a discussion nor contributing to it, move on.

27 Open Space Event 21 Sessions were offered in 3 slots Topics included: ‘Fostering learning for its own sake beyond passing assessments’, ‘Caring for students’, ‘How can we empower students to develop into independent learners?’, ‘New frontiers in curriculum design’, ‘Learning for employability’.

28 Taking it forward New Faculty structure – identifying cases of good practice for further AE within each faculty Seeking to develop ‘Cross-Faculty Learning Community Programme’ (Cox) Evolving a guide to principles of learning and teaching that inform our practice.

29 Some References Cooperrider, D. & Whitney, D. (1999) Appreciative Enquiry. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehlet. Cox, & L. Richlin (Eds.), Building faculty learning communities (pp. 5-23). New Directions for Teaching and Learning: No. 97, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Owen, H. A brief User’s Guide to Open Space Technology available at image.com/Brief%20User's%20Guide.htm


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