Supporting Student Agency (Students' perspectives : (Setting up the…
Supporting Student Agency
Students' perspectives :
Setting up the classroom
Students are invited to have a voice in decisions to set up their own classroom.
Making decisions together
Students are able to participate in decisions that help them feel like they have a voice.
Choice and trust
Choice in where to learn, how to learn and who to learn with are identified as factors that help them have agency in their learning. Having trust from their teachers to test out different options and having space to make mistakes and wrong choices along the way.
Planning their own day
Having students write their own day plans.
Assessment of prior knowledge
Assessment of prior knowledge helps students know themselves and identify what they already know and can do before a unit starts. This helps them know where they are and where they need to go.
“Creativity Thursday” provides them with the most ownership over their learning. On Thursdays, they have the ultimate choice over not only when, how and where to learn, but also what to learn. On Thursday, they are able to truly pursue passions, interests and curiosity of their own choosing.
Three way conferences
Being able to share their thoughts and perspectives about their own learning helps them feel that the learning is theirs.
Teachers ' perspective
Learning about learning
Investing in the first month of school for students to learn about learning and learn about themselves as learners sets the stage well for the rest of the year. Students feel that their community is a place where they have opportunities to voice, make choices and experience a sense of ownership over their learning.
Approaching assessment helps students experience more ownership and voice in the process of assessing and evaluating their learning. Students are actively involved in co-constructing success criteria. They use feedback based on these criteria to modify and improve their learning. This supports students’ development of self-efficacy.
By taking data from the assessment of prior knowledge, and then planning what they wanted to learn, how they wanted to learn, how they were going to get feedback and how they will know if they achieved their learning goal, students were put in the driver’s seat of their own learning.
Learning from each other
Building a culture where students see one another as valuable sources of learning, assistance and feedback has also helped students to be able to take ownership of pursuing learning through multiple avenues.
Shifting from mandatory to optional
Trying to take things that students are usually obliged to participate in, and reimagine a way to make them optional.
Supportive student initiative
Creating a culture of trial and initiative starts with feelings of belonging, trust and reciprocity within the classroom community. Honouring and supporting students’ initiatives, both inside and outside of the classroom, helps students notice and be aware of their own agency. Considering consequences, connections and the impact of action.
To develop student agency there should be no “secret teacher business” .