Appreciative Inquiry (AI) focused on discovering strengths and encouraging these students in order to motivate, encourage, and transform; not on finding weaknesses or shortcomings. AI an intervention tool that asks individuals to focus on strengths and successes rather than problems and failures.As AI aims to empower individuals through the identification of their strengths, it is imperative that students be engaged in the process.
Students were grouped into four teams. We asked them to write down what their strengths are or what they are/were best at. They learned how to achieve their goals using their strengths through a variety of activities.
Most students are unaware of their inner strengths and schools and families’ environments are not conducive to enhancing students' strengths. AI sessions are expected to boost their strengths. The session became helpful for better relationships with instructors and peers and can reduce the anxiety about career preparation. For sure, it helped them to identified modest goals and to do better over their academic and professional progress :
Thirty-Nine students joined on Appreciate Inquiry (AI) Sessions.
Students from grade 6 to 12 participated with curiosity.
Yoga sessions made the participants light and energetic, and also served as an icebreaker since these students came from different schools.
The participants came from 16 different schools (eight from private English medium schools and eight from government schools).
Discovering their Strengths or Where They were Best at or What Made them Happy
What They Wrote on the Sessions of Discovery:
· Helping on house chores
· Giving money form seasonal labor work to parents
· Getting Appreciation in singing
· Obtaining A+ in grade 8 exam
· Getting 1st prize in a dance competition
· Being a 1st position in a quiz contest
· Donation to a sick people of village
· Getting A in grade 8 exam
· Winning a football match
· Helping an old man
· Getting a blue Belt in Karate
The students were taught to look on their strengths and what they can do; to discovery their strengths and to see/look for the dream which is attainable. Then, they were taught to design the steps to get their dream and, in the end, how they can step on these steps to fulfil their dream.
Roopa Chowdhary, a Class 11 participant, said that she was greatly inspired by the sessions of appreciative inquiry. She said it helped her find her strengths and figure out how to reach her goals.
“Treat Barriers as Ramps- Think Out of Box”
AI does not ignore the weakness or problem; it asks participants to treat every block/weakness as a stepping stone by taking a positive approach. We taught the students to face the challenges/barriers, treat barriers as ramp to go ahead and to think “outside the box” to find other options and processes.
We are trying our best to design and develop a culture of appreciation - a long-term process - is aimed at ensuring that every individual can achieve their potential, no matter what the circumstances are.
Appreciative Inquiry is an approach that seeks to uncover what is working well, understand why it works and identify how those successes can be amplified and transferred to other areas. The most common model used is the 5 D’s Define, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver.
Why did we do this?
§ To help students practice positive reframing,
§ Appraise and identify their strengths and skills,
§ Select goals,
§ Create action plans, and
§ Take responsibility for their progress.
§ exploring their past successes and identify skills and strengths “tap into students’ hidden motivations and values.”
§ Students discussed answers in peer groups to more clearly articulate successes and skills.
§ Students wrote the goals related to their topics to pursue using their skills and strengths. (The more specific, the better) Again, discussed in peer groups.
§ Students drafted action plans with specific steps to reach their goals. Students were encouraged to draft steps they believe in and can accomplish.
§ Breaking down the plan into smaller steps made it easier to commit to and more manageable.
§ Students were encouraged to note their progress and checking in with their peer groups for positive reinforcement and recognition.
Note: Despite the fact that education begins at home, most of these parents are illiterate or semi-literate, so they cannot teach their children. There is food insecurity, their parents are casual laborers, and they have to do house chores as well. Despite all these issues around them, they still want to attend school and be educated and independent.