Monthly Archives: June 2007

Blogging for professional development – does it work?

 I set this blog up about 8 weeks ago and as my tag line says it was to explore blogging as a means of professional development in occupational therapy. Given professional development is all about learning – I thought it was time that I decided whether blogging was having any effect or not … so what have I experienced ? and has blogging had an effect on my professional development?

Well so far I have noted:

  • increased confidence with web 2
  • by looking at other bloggers sites a greater awareness of the things occupational therapists are doing, and on many of the sites the postings have made me think about an issue they have raised
  • and on still other blogs an awareness that occupational therapy students are stressed by assignments, hate boring classes and time wasting – and some gems about what works in education for students but would like to know more about what they enjoy and what works for them what lights them up about occupational therapy – see the value of the positive in my earlier problem solving/appreciative inquiry posting
  • I am just starting to to find that I am now thinking about some of the reading that I am doing and thinking – how might I express/summarise what I am thinking about or learning from this, such that others might be interested as well – the act of having to express it firms up my thinking.
  • It is also pushing me to get into a regular pattern of articulating my ongoing learning – I am therefore more often asking myself what am I learning from this experience (reading, meeting, inservice, happening) – and this reflection firms the learning.

So I think I can say yes blogging is having a positive effect on my on going professional development. However I am not yet sure it is a habit – will I keep getting enough from this to keep it going – watch this space.

Problem Solved?

house-ida-valley.jpg Occupational therapists are often associated with problem solving. In reading about a change concept called appreciative inquiry. I was interested in the following description of problem solving

Traditional diagnostic model

  • Defining the problem
  • Fixing what is broken
  • Focusing on decay

What problems are you having?

And then an alternative model

Appreciative Inquiry

  • Searching for solutions that already work
  • Amplifying what works
  • Focus on life giving forces

What is working well around here?

Um…. It makes you think about the approach you use

So what is appreciative inquiry?

It was described in Cooperrider & Whitey as “Taking the best of the past and stretching it into the future”.

And in Hall and Hammond as having these features

  • Acknowledging that we all have rich positive experiences to call on
  • Works on the principle that whatever you want more of already exists in the organization (or I’m adding ‘an individual’) you just have to recognize it
  • People can have confidence in the future when they can carry though parts of the past
  • When you do more of what works the stuff that doesn’t work goes away

Much of the literature talks of using the Four D – model within appreciative inquiry In Magruder Watkins & Mohr they describe the four D model this way:

  • Discovery Appreciate the best of what is – by focusing on times of excellence(when are you or the organization most alive and effective)
  • Dream Involves challenging the status quo by envisaging a preferred future
  • Design Creating the social architecture – what will the structures and processes be
  • Deliver Deliver on the new images of the future a time of continuous learning, adjustment and improvisation

In summary

Appreciative inquiry is described as:

  • A search for the best in people
  • It identifies your positive core
  • It is about building on what works well
  • And most importantly it is about recognising the best in the people and world around us

Certainly makes you wonder what the world would be like if we all thought this way.

References:Cooperrider, D. & Whitney, D., A positive revolution in change: Appreciative inquiryGoogle Scholar http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/uploads/whatisai.pdf

Hall, J., & and Hammond, S. What is appreciative Inquiry Google scholar http://bands.butler.edu/~dluechau/articles/hallhamwhatisai.pdf

Magruder, J., & Mohr, B. J. (2001). Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the speed of imagination.
San Francisco:Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.