Appreciative facilitation emphasises what works well and pays attention to success and achievement. At its simplest, it involves catching students at their best moments and providing positive feedback about what they did or said. Alternatively you can invite positive comments from participants for each other following a group exercise. Or just ask, 'What is working well?'.
Cheri Torres brings together her enthusiasm for appreciative facilitation and mobile ropes courses in 'The Appreciative Facilitator' (Torres, 2001). Her handbook includes summaries of key research supporting appreciative facilitation, such as the 'Pygmalion Effect' ('As the teacher believes the student to be, so the student becomes') and how watching videos of your own successful performances leads to much greater improvements than watching videos of your mistakes. Appreciative facilitation draws on ideas and principles from Appreciative Inquiry (an approach to organisation development) and Solution Focused Brief Therapy ('Be careful what you attend to. What you focus on expands.'). Appreciative facilitation fits well with outdoor education, both as a source of techniques and as a philosophy.
This book is a quick inspirational read that neatly summarises key research. At only 74 pages it serves as a useful introduction, but I would have enjoyed more chapters and more examples.