What’s wrong with this picture?


In a recent forum discussion I was introduced to the concept of appreciative inquiry (AI).

Created by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva in the 1980’s  AI focuses on creating  change through focussing on the ideal state rather than the problems state.  As David Cooperrider explains it well in his video “Leading change is all about strengths” :



appreciative inquiry

A few of my classmates shared their experience with AI and how it can often be welcomed with “eyes rolling” and “heavy sighs” as participants await their kumbaya moment.   If  you dig a little deeper though you’ll discover that AI is  more than the power of positive thinking but a change in mindset that change takes place when problems are solved.  A paradigm shift from our traditional views of how to address problems by dwelling on the negative.

When we focus on solving problems we tend to reflect on the past digressions.  We typically then work on corrective actions  to fix the issues so we can return to the current or perceived ideal state.   We ask “What’s wrong?”  “How do we fix it?”.    This is not a paradigm that fosters positive change and growth into the future.  What’s possible?  What can be achieved ?

It turns out that research into positive psychology  and studies of neurochemistry actually support the power of AI in how we actually feel.   Brain chemistry actually changes depending on the positivity of the conversational behaviours.


One of my classmates suggested the above graphic could be used as a rubric for classroom behaviour.

Its clear to me that AI can be a powerful model for student engagement and instructor model behaviour; especially when trying to elevate your class out of a problem situation.


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