At capital college and research center: a case study



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APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY AND STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENTS


AT CAPITAL COLLEGE AND RESEARCH CENTER: A CASE STUDY
By

Gana Pati Ojha, Dev Raj Paudel, Ashbin Kumar Pudasaini, Hari Chandra Lamichhane, Anil Kumar Shrestha, and Ek Raj Kafle



  1. Brief description of Capital College and Research Center

Capital College and Research Center (CCRC) was established in 2001 with the maxim “Quest for knowledge with wisdom”. It 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.

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. The Chairperson of CCRC Dr. Gana Pati Ojha was an AI graduate by participating in a four-day AI workshop in Kathmandu, 2000 with Diana Whitney and a member of AI Network Nepal. In one special gathering, he discussed with Chandi Chapagain and Dr. Malcolm J. Odell Jr. (Mac) to introduce AI in CCRC through a series of workshops. Both Chandi and Mac gave their commitment to help in this process. In initial five workshops held in the year 2002 CCRC obtained facilitating support from both of them. Chandi is still continuing as a resource person. Mac is providing intellectual supports from USA.

The first workshop was held on May 4, 2002 with the core group of CCRC that included support staff, management staff and board of directors. The second was conducted on May 23, 2002 participated by faculties and core members who had already gone to May 4 workshop. The third workshop was held on July 1 with grades XII students where some teachers and some core group members also participated. The fourth was with grade XI students on August 24, 2002. In addition to these one-day workshops, four AI workshops were held with BBS students in CCRC’s regular Sunday Workshops in 2002/2003. Further, an introductory AI workshop with new grade XI students and AI refresher workshop with continuing students were organized in 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.
2. Positive topic: Improving educational standard was the topic selected for the workshop.
3. We wished better results of students in grade XII and success in bagging scholarships for medical course in the nationwide competition.

4. 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. Their number is given in Table 1.

Table 1. Number of students willing to go for different professions.




SN

Group

Number of students

1

Doctor

46

2

Engineer

37

3

Soft ware expert


31

4

General manager

14

5

Scientist

8

6

Entrepreneur

7

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.


5. 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.

Table 2. Changed behavior of CCRC grade XII students as a result of their practicing of appreciative inquiry approach.


Changed behavior

No. of responses

Percentage of the total responses

Positive attitude

22

22.7

Optimistic

11

11.3

Creativity

2

2.1

self confidence/dependence

12

12.4

Good relationship with friends and family members

1

1.0

More efficient

1

1.0

Good concentration in study

1

1.0

Becoming courageous

1

1.0


Stress management

3

3.1

Helping attitude

3

3.1

Confessing error

7

7.2

Time management

9

9.3

Support to studies

19

19.6

Sharing things with others

5

5.2

Total

97

100.0

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.


Table 3. Students’ rating of AI contribution to their studies.

Rating


No. of respondents

Percentage of the total respondents

Very high

4

15.4

High

14

53.8

Medium

5

19.3

Low

3

11.5

Total

26

100

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.

Table 4. Outcome of practicing appreciative inquiry as reported by CCRC students


Outcomes

No. of respondents

Percentage of respondents

Good results

20


76.9

Additional knowledge

21

80.8

Being respected by others

9

34.6

Respecting others

15

57.7



6. CCRC Activities and Strategies to Continue AI Successes

CCRC has institutionalized AI in its system of governance. The series of workshops that have been conducted from the very beginning of launching the AI approach within the life system of CCRC have laid strong foundation for its institutionalization. The CCRC organizes orientation workshops to new students who take enrollment each year. At the second year, the students are provided refresher workshops. The most important aspect of second year workshop is that the students bring real life experiences and share with their colleagues, faculties and core groups in a large gathering. A number of personal contacts are carried out with genuine students, and with students who have changed their behavior towards more positive from negative aspects. The stories of students were gathered through an interview and also through informal interactions. CCRC has developed a system of celebrating the success in a variety of ways. The successes are discussed in a large gathering, the students are honored with prizes, their names are advertised in newspapers and College prospectus. CCRC’s looking every thing from the AI perspective supports ongoing success. In addition, introductory AI workshop for grade XI sophomore and refresher AI workshop for continuing grade XII students are placed into CCRC annual activity calendar. Continuous monitoring, evaluating and reviewing of AI practices are built in CCRC management system.

7. 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.



Annex 1
Assessment of AI Influence on CCRC Students
Name: Gender: Female/Male

Year: Faculty:




  1. What are the roots causes of your success in the XII examination?



  1. What major points you remember in appreciate inquiry (AI) approach?



  1. What three AI activities are you using in your day to day life?



  1. What three changes have you noticed in your life as result of using the AI approach?




  1. What are the major factors contributing to securing good scores in your XII Board examination, 2003?




  1. Please rate the contribution of AI approach in securing high score in the Board examination (Please tick one).

a. Very high b. High c. Medium d. Low e. Not at all


  1. What are your suggestions to improve quality of education at CCRC?

Thank you very much for your cooperation!!!


Annex 2


AI Workshop Schedule

Capital College and Research Center, Kathmandu, July 1, 2002

Major topics/time

Process

Methods

Materials

Introduction to the participants

(10:30-11:00)


Introduction to AI/APA

(11.00-12.30)


Snacks (12.30-13.30)

Energizer

Practical Exercise on AI/APA:

DISCOVERY:

(13.30-14.15)


DREAM:

(14.15-15.00)



DESIGN:

(15.00-15.45)




DESTINY:

(15.45-16.15)


CLOSING

(16.15-16.30)



Self introduction highlighting with name and one best moment in life
What is Appreciative Inquiry? How did it evolved? What is Appreciative Planning and Action? One goal, two laws, three principles and 4-Ds with examples. Merits of AI/APA in academic institutions? How does it help students achieve their objectives?
Signature game



  • What is your most important success in your student life?

Close your eyes for two minutes.



  • How do you want to see your performance /progress ten years from now?


  • (OPEN SPACE) or Prepare one year action plan based on your ten year vision aiming to promote your performance / career/scores.





  • Show your commitments to achieve your plan



  • What has been the best part of this program?

  • How can we apply this here at Capital College?

  • How can we make it even better when we do it next time here?




  • Home assignment, closing remarks

Oral and note taking

Question and answer, lecture,

Glass is half empty or half full?

Individual work, some students will present voluntarily


Passing the ball,

Group work, stitch up on the wall and moveable reflection


Story: Whose problem? Game: Corner goal game, Individual plan

Some students will present voluntarily

Evaluation in group

Trend analysis



News print paper, marker
APA booklet, OHP

Meta-cards


News print paper, Shallow tape, marker, Flash card, A map of clean and a dirty community, Exhibition hall/wall
Ball, news print paper, marker, OHP, Planning format,

Meta-card, marker, OHP

News print paper, markers

Trend analysis sheet






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