A case study of a school’s application of Appreciative Inquiry, SOAR, and Strengths-Based practices as seen in a range of educational projects
There is no doubt that we live in a world experiencing unprecedented changes. It is not surprising that our conversation can have a sense of hopelessness. Easy solutions appear to be few and far between. What is needed in schools is a new discourse that is hope-full, appreciative, strengths-based and relational.
This book reports on an innovative ‘life-centric’ design for the professional development of senior leaders within a primary (elementary) school in New Zealand. The design involved an Appreciative Inquiry approach, a SOAR strategy, and strengths- based outcomes. The chapters are organised around leaders’ self-selected, innovative and appreciative inquiries which included an external mentor and writing retreats. Each chapter provides a teacher’s narrative on their inquiry, decision making, application of the life-centric design, and the development of emergent and enduring understandings.
The AI SOAR strategy has been applied to school-wide matters such as the development of a new bicultural school vision statement; ‘Growing creative learners from within.’ The Māori translation is ‘Kia puāwai te ngākau.’ This translation evokes an image of learners harnessing that which is within their innermost being and letting that flourish.
This book strongly advocates for the greater application of Appreciative Inquiry, SOAR and strengths-based aspirations in schools.