Leaders building professional learning communities: appreciative inquiry in action
This article explores an approach to developing organisational and leadership capacity through the development of a professional learning community. The project involved 25 managers of adolescent-focused non-government organisations (NGOs) who participated in a 14-month collaborative development project that incorporated appreciative inquiry processes. Two guiding principles of appreciative inquiry – a positive focus and collaboration – framed the process for the development of a professional learning community that led to a highly productive collaborative learning space. Five key success components emerged during the project: a flexible and negotiated structure to the professional learning; a focus on positive stories; cycles of exploration and ameliatory modification to their work; individual and collective reflection; and a substantial period of time over which to conduct the development process. The potential transferability of these components to development of professional learning communities in education is explored.