Jennifer Mitton-Kükner (St. Francis Xavier University) with Heather Michael, Cindy Tully and Mary MacDonald
This report reviews the findings of a study that investigated the ways in which an appreciative inquiry framework (a strength-based approach) fostered the understanding of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) coordinators and teachers regarding approaches to teaching and learning. The primary research question informing this study asked: what impact, if any, did appreciative inquiry (AI) have upon participants’ understanding of approaches to teaching and learning and their willingness to establish these practices in the DP? This qualitative study was conducted using a single case study design, as participants took part in a series of professional learning workshops focused on approaches to teaching and learning. Analysis disclosed a number of findings relevant to understanding the impact an AI framework had upon participants’ knowledge and willingness to envision how they might establish effective pedagogical practices and curricular initiatives to enhance approaches to teaching and learning in the DP. Participants overwhelmingly depicted approaches to teaching and learning and their AI workshop participation as encouraging, helpful and educational. Scholars noted that how teachers experience professional development can either lead to change or not. The findings of this study further affirm and contribute to this emerging field of study and emphasize the potential of an AI approach to professional development.