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In their wor[l]ds: Embarking on appreciative inquiry to enhance student learning

Rachel McNae with Janine Mackay


Young people have an important contribution to make in helping adults understand what their lives are like and how they learn best. Youth–adult partnerships can provide opportunities for adults and young people to engage in conversations about teaching and learning, and can assist students to share their voices and articulate their learning needs and desires. This article discusses the findings of an appreciative inquiry into enhancing student learning about leadership. The research project engaged adults and young people in a collaborative project that drew attention to the positive aspects of the students’ leadership. Shifting the focus from “What needs improving?” to “What might be possible?” encouraged students to share their voices in stories about when they were leading at their best and provided privileged insight into the wor[l]ds of students in New Zealand secondary schools.

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