The purpose of this research is to describe how a university doctoral research team entered into a collaborative research partnership with a Midwestern rural school district to work with an eighth-grade team of teachers (teacher team) to think differently about their pedagogical practices in their non-AYP, low socioeconomic status middle school. A qualitative case study using an appreciate inquiry (AI) methodology was used with an eighth-grade team of teachers—four women and two men. Data were collected through semi-structured paired interviews, whole-group discussions, shared written activities, narrative group story, extensive researcher field notes, and activities related to enhance team members‘
dialogue over an eight-month period. The findings indicate the importance of using an AI methodology when whole groups want to change yet seem mired in traditional behavioral patterns reinforced by a stagnant organizational culture. Progressive AI meetings were conducted with the eighth-grade team where the AI 4-D Cycle process became the catalyst for team change. Follow-up semi-structured interviews with the teacher team indicated their sustained excitement with the AI
4-D Cycle and provided feedback for future progressive AI meetings. The research team concluded that the teacher team gained a deeper appreciation of each other on a personal and professional level. Incremental change took place through the AI 4-D Cycle. Teacher team members undertook training in technology and other pedagogical related professional development. They discovered new ways to collaborate and integrate their teaching. And, they began a series of conversations with school and district administrators to facilitate changes discussed during the AI 4-D Cycle.