AP takes Appreciative Inquiry training into schools

Appreciating People; Appreciative Inquiry for schools

Year 9 students at Savio Silesian College create a 'dream image' of their future hopes, influences and aspirations

Appreciating People is taking Appreciative Inquiry into schools, helping students at Savio Silesian College in Bootle improve their decision-making skills and learning experience. Savio is a specialist Business and Enterprise school, and AP carried out the session with 15 year 9 students (13 year olds).

The course was based around the question ‘how can I make better informed decisions to help me to create the best learning environment and experience for me?‘ and asked the students to concentrate on strengths, characteristics and values to create an inspirational environment. They began the day in small groups, telling each other about ‘what went well’ about their week, and how it made them feel, before moving on to think about qualities, influences on their lives, values and standards and completing a ‘dream image’ of their vision.

In the afternoon session they were asked to identify a small step, big step and radical step towards achieving that vision. Susie Wallis, Enterprise Education Advisor at Savio, said: ‘We’re always keen at Savio to help our students  develop  in interesting and innovative ways and the opportunity to work with AI seemed the perfect solution. The year 9 students loved the collage session looking at what they might be in their future lives and also the discussions sessions – although it took a little time for these usually lively students to warm up – probably because they are not use to talking positively about their skills, so AI has proved a very positive step. We’re looking forward to session two at the end of the summer term in 2012 to see if the students have taken on board the AI techniques.

Student were asked three questions – ‘what have you enjoyed most about today?’, ‘what has been your greatest learning?’ and ‘what will you do differently after today?’ Their responses to the first question included:

  • Being creative, and making the collage
  • Being able to share my thoughts

To the second question – what has been your greatest learning today? – included:

  • I’ve learned my skills and learned to listen to peoples thoughts
  • How important influences are
  • What I need to do to be a teacher
  • I have learned to be ambitious in my job
  • I have learned about my skills and characteristics
  • About our futures
  • I have learned that I have to be confident or I won’t get far
  • Realising that I can start research for my job
  • I learned the most about what I really want to do

And to the question ‘what will you do differently after today’s session?’ included:

  • Work harder in school
  • Aim higher for my life
  • I will pay more attention in school
  • I will work harder to try and achieve my job
  • Study and listen more
  • Be more positive about life
  • I will be more determined about reaching my goal
  • I will be more confident and more talkative
  • Work more on my confidence
  • Help people