Title

Improving the context of learning by using appreciative inquiry approach (AIA)

Date of Award

8-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to enhance the learning environment through Appreciative Inquiry Approach (AlA) in a government secondary school of Karachi. The study focused on one component of the learning environment such i.e. the students' participation in classroom discussions. In government schools, the culture of problem-solving focuses on deficiencies and ignores the positive aspects and the strengths of people. In the problem solving approach, we assume that there must be something wrong and we look for it with the intent to solve it. AlA is an alternate approach initiated as a reaction to the problem-based approach, as it is a search for "the best" of what already exists. Therefore, using this approach, my hypothesis was that every person, organization, system, and community has something that works well, and boosts up the moral and confidence of people. The learning environment (in this case, through enhancing students' participation) can be enhanced through searching for what is good and working well. The qualitative Participatory Action Research (embedded in an appreciative lens) was employed since it suited the aim and purpose of the study. Two teachers were selected, one who was in favour of using AlA and the other who was opposed to the idea. Reflective journals, notes of classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, reflective meetings, and study documents were used as data collection tools. By conducting this study, the potential, possibilities and challenges of using strength based approach in the teaching and learning processes have been explored. The findings indicate that the students' participation can be enhanced by using strength based approach, which encourages them through positive words, gestures, and especially highlighting their strengths. This study has ample value and significance for research participants who want to enhance their students' participation in classroom discussions. It would help them to reflect on their existing understanding and practices (e.g. what they do, why they do, how it contributes to the learning environment, etcetera). The study has implications for teachers in their professional life as well as their social life.

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