AbstractThe professional development (PD) of teachers plays an important role in schools; it is indispensable for continuous school development. When schools are exposed to new approaches to learning and teaching, teachers are granted the opportunities to change their thinking and behaviour. In 2009, two South African schools with specific inviting characteristics were nominated for the inviting school award given by the International Alliance for Invitational Education (IAIE). However, the inviting characteristics of these schools were not explicitly intentional according to the IE philosophy, therefore they had to follow a professional development programme aimed at raising teachers’ awareness of invitational education (IE). Workshops were held to equip staff members with IE knowledge and skills, and to increase their understanding of their current practices with a view of making them more intentionally inviting.
The study focused on the following two questions: What are the positive experiences of teaching staff concerning the current approach to teaching and learning in schools?; and What strategies may be introduced to assist teachers and their schools in becoming intentionally inviting? These two questions are based on appreciative inquiry (AI) and IE. A qualitative research design was most appropriate for the purpose of this study. An analysis of the data revealed two categories (the discovery phase: discovering the best of what exists in the school and the dreaming phase: creating a new future) on which AI is based.