Laurel Felt | Doctoral student at USC Annenberg


Asset Appreciation & Narrative
November 17, 2010, 6:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

ASSET APPRECIATION
Origins
Immersion in diverse bodies of literature inspired the theoretical bricolage that is the “asset appreciation” construct. Asset appreciation unifies academically separate yet philosophically complementary theory from research on resilience (Luthar, Cichetti, & Becker, 2000; Yates, Egeland, & Sroufe, 2003), possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986; Clark, Miller, Nagy, Avery, Roth, Liddon, & Mukherjee, 2005), positive deviance (Pascale, Sternin, & Sternin, 2010; Singhal, Sternin, & Dura, 2009), asset-based community development (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1997; Kretzmann, McKnight, Dobrowolski, & Puntenney, 2005), intrinsic motivation (Deci & Flaste, 1996) and appreciative inquiry (Bushe & Kassam, 2005; Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005).
Definition
Asset appreciation aims to capture the extent to which an individual and/or community recognizes the availability of internal and external resources and exploits them to their fullest potential. Simply knowing about resources can help people to get their needs met with greater ease and comprehensiveness, particularly in times of stress. Appreciating resources as assets can boost people’s quality of life perceptions and sense of self and/or collective efficacy (Bandura, 1994, 1997) because it frames the environment as rich and oneself as embedded in a support network. Behaving resourcefully and framing situations productively facilitates meaningful learning because such acts, like NMLs, tap and foster processes of critical thinking, collaborating and problem-solving. Implicit in these acts are the SEL skills of self-awareness and social awareness; as such, asset appreciation similarly enables learners’ engagement and seeds unfettered exploration and growth.

NARRATIVE
Stories are hailed by various constituencies as a universal attribute of humankind (Campbell, 1949/2008), the most natural mode of thought (Schank & Abelson, 1995; Sarbin, 1986), a tool for establishing identity (Siegel & Hartzell, 2003), a frame for constructing reality (Berger & Luckmann, 1966), a means to gratify needs (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974), a commodity of enormous value (see Hollywood), or simply a good ol’ way to pass the time. Lately, health communication scholars have documented (Bandura, 1977, 2004a; Green & Brock, 2002; Singhal, Cody, Rogers, & Sabido, 2004) what Aesop’s and de la Fontaine’s fables long ago established: stories can teach. Moreover, stories can assess (Carr, 2001; Davies & Dart, 2005). Thus narrative skills – the capacities to comprehend and weave stories – can be understood as learning prerequisites.

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