Breakout Session 9 - 18th September at 12:25 - 1:05

Appreciative Inquiry: Leading a strengths-based approach to appraising professional practice

Presenter/s: Debbie Ryder, Lauren Graham, Shelley Sugrue
Type: Workshop
Keywords: Appreciative Inquiry; Strengths-based leadership; Self, and staff appraisal.
Room: Auaha Hīhī


In 2023, a group of practitioners undertook their own inquiry-based self-appraisal process, with the intention of supporting their future professional practice (Ryder, Huggins & Sugrue, 2024). This workshop will explore the Appreciative Growth Cycle and the associated Appreciative Dispositions which included writing reflections on what ‘gave life’ to their practice.

A key aspect of the strengths-based appraisal process is the role of the leader in co-constructing a shared understanding of strengths-based practice, where the outcome is to guide the identification of the strengths-based aspirations and future goals. The workshop will provide insight into a leader’s perspective in facilitating the self-appraisal process of others. The focus on partnering with pairs within appraisal adds a further dimension to appraisal of practice.

Time will be provided in the workshop for participants to engage with the Appreciative Growth Cycle and Appreciative Dispositions and explore ways in which these can be applied in the leadership of others.


Debbie Ryder, Lauren Graham, Shelley Sugrue

Dr Debbie Ryder is a Programme Leader for the Master of Education (ECE) programme at Te Rito Maioha ECNZ. Debbie has lectured for 18 years and has previously led ECE teams. Debbie was the key researcher for the Leaders Growing Leaders research (Ryder, et. al 2017) and in 2019 gained her PhD, where she explored contradictions in how physical activity occurs within the home and ECE settings.
Lauren Graham is a lecturer in the postgraduate leadership programme at Te Rito Maioha ECNZ, where she teaches Māori Leadership | Te Ārahitanga Māori i te Mātauranga Kōhungahunga. Lauren is a qualified early childhood teacher with over fifteen years’ experience in a range of settings in Aotearoa and abroad. Lauren holds a master’s degree in applied practice. She is dedicated to supporting tauira to effect positive societal change within Aotearoa through Māori Leadership.
Shelley Sugrue is the Programme Leader for the GradDipTch(ECE) programme at Te Rito Maioha ECNZ. Shelley has lectured in initial teacher education for 23 years across a range of programmes. Prior to this, she was a head teacher in a kindergarten for 8 years. Shelley holds a masters in education with a focus on the social sciences curriculum. Shelley has a keen interest in blended learning approaches in ITE.