Education, Higher Education
Capital College and Research Center
APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY AND STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENTS
AT CAPITAL COLLEGE AND RESEARCH CENTER: A CASE STUDY
1. Brief description of Capital College and Research Center
Capital College and Research Center (CCRC) was established in 2001 has grade XI, grade XII program in Science, Humanities, and Management streams and bachelor program in business studies (BBS). There are about 600 students, 75 teachers and 27 administrative staff. CCRC includes teaching, research and community services in its education system. It is affiliated to the Tribhuvan University for BBS program and Higher Secondary Education Board for grades XI and XII. It uses student-centered approaches in learning and teaching. CCRC has been using appreciative inquiry (AI) approach in its entire management since May 2002 and is committed to continue. It envisions to becoming an AI managed University in near future.
2. Appreciative Inquiry at CCRC
CCRC is fully AI managed education institute. Everyone at CCRC knows and practices AI approach to the extent possible. The board members, managerial staff, teachers and students have learned AI through a series of AI workshops conducted from May 2002 to August 2003.
A series of reinforcement activities are conducted with staff, teachers and students for encouraging them to practice AI approach in their day-to-day life in and outside college. For every event that happens, we encourage to find positive aspects. In case of some conflicts, conflicting parties are brought to dialogue. The whole CCRC has been involved in the process. CCRC board of directors, teachers, managerial staff, and students become a part of this process.
The present case study focuses on the XII grades students who entered in AI process by participating in July 1, 2002 AI workshop.
3. Workshop Activities
It was a one-day six-hour workshop. The program kicked off with opening remarks by the CCRC Chairman Dr. Gana Pati Ojha. Participants then self-introduced with one best moment in her/his life. It followed brief introduction to AI including its origin, goal, principles, and model. This introductory session also dealt with its merit in education institute including its support in students’ achievement. After this, there were four sessions each allocated for one ‘D’ in its 4-D cycle: Discovery-Dream-Design-Destiny.
In discovery session, students went for practical exercise to discover the success in their student life. In the dream session, students closed their eyes and aspired what they wanted to be doing in 2012. The design session followed the open space technology model and students prepared one-year plan to obtain the ten years’ vision. In destiny session, students showed their commitment to achieve the one-year plan. A little time was allocated for participatory evaluation of the workshop.
The provocative propositions of the workshop were that students’ performance in academic achievement will be better; they will behave positively in interaction with public; they will be received in the community more prestigiously; they will develop their leadership skills differently; and ultimately the rate of change in the society will be faster by practicing the APA/ AI approach in long run.
The students grouped themselves into six categories according to their choice of profession. Some students wanted to become medical doctors, engineers, software experts, general managers, entrepreneurs, and scientists.
This study specifically focuses on the student group wishing to go for medical course. There were 46 students in this group. Their strong will was to obtain high score at the national level grade XII examination and bag full scholarship for MBBS medical course. To achieve this objective, students committed to study in group and identify specific topic in each subject for teachers’ help; CCRC management committed to provide teachers for extra hours; and teachers committed to conduct coaching classes and help students even during off hours.
4. Actual outcomes
After one year, results of the nationwide competition in grades XII came out and many of those who participated in the AI workshop were among the toppers. Among them, seven students got very prestigious scholarship administered by the Ministry of Education for medical course (MBBS). This is the highest number of students from any single college getting scholarship in medical course. Other students are competing other scholarship schemes whose results are yet to be published. Our expectation is that many of them will bag the remaining scholarships.
We conducted a survey with 29 students who performed academically excellent. Our general question was “what are the root causes of your success?” They reported three important factors: good teachers, their own hard work and their participation in appreciative inquiry process. Although all three factors are equally important, the focus of this study is on their participation in the appreciative inquiry process. In response to the question “What behavioral changes have taken place in you as a result of practicing appreciative inquiry?” the respondent students mentioned that they have developed more positive attitude, helping attitude, and good relationship with friends and family members; they are now more optimistic, creative, self confident, efficient in time management, courageous, and supportive; and also that they have developed sharing attitude and confessing habit. They also reported that they are better in stress management.
While asking to respond on the contribution of AI to their studies, it was very high for 15.4 percent of the responding students, high for 53.8 percent, medium for 19.3, low for 11.5 and no contribution for none of the respondents. In the overall rating almost 77 percent of the respondent reported that they got good results because of their AI practicing, 81 percent obtained additional knowledge on AI, 58 percent started respecting others and 35 percent experienced of being respected by others.
5. Personal best experience
AI is a very powerful tool in managing College. It helps college management to be more effective, efficient and responsive. Teachers become more student-oriented and pay more attention to the students’ issues. Students become more cultured. They get good results with AI practice because they can concentrate more on study. They exhibit cooperation among themselves, become more civilized by respecting norms and values of their interacting partners. AI reduces unnecessary quarrels and conflicts among students in college. The time required otherwise to manage the conflict is used in constructive activities.