Taking a Strengths-Based Focus Improves School Climate
In 2011 Megan Tschannen-Moran & Bob Tschannen-Moran of the Center for School Transformation released a study to learn whether focusing on strengths through Appreciative Inquiry (AI) would be related to measurable changes in school climate.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a strengths-based, positive approach to leadership development and organizational change. AI can be used by individuals, teams, organizations, or at the societal level; in each case, it helps people move toward a shared vision for the future by engaging others in strategic innovation.
The study measured eight areas of climate and trust variables:
- Academic press
- teacher professionalism
- organisational citizenship
- faculty trust in principal
- collegial leadership
- faculty trust in colleagues
- faculty trust in students & parents, and
- community engagement.
A longitudinal study was conducted over 2 years, with data collected at two points, once 12 months before and again 12 months after the appreciative inquiry process was introduced. Significant improvements were shown in seven of the eight climate and trust variables assessed.
General findings included that by noticing and amplifying the good things that are going on, AI turns the tables on old conversation patterns about what is wrong and who is to blame.
The full research piece can be located here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253764570_Strengths-Based_Focus_Improves_School_Climate