In this video, Derek explains how student agency involves 3 dynamics and I’ve added some implications for our classrooms.
1. The initiative – self regulation of the student.
- this describes exactly what we are trying to do – engage the learner to be more and more independent and self starting.
2. The relationship is inter-dependent – mediates and is mediated by the socio cultural context of the classroom.
- the importance of a collaborative culture is key here. How we work together, give and seek peer feedback and create an environment where students want to learn together is incredibly important.
3. An awareness of responsibility of the learner’s own actions and the impact on the environment and on others.
- our learner licenses approach is working really well in facilitating the right amount of support for each learner and I’m wondering how we can use it better to have student’s mentoring / supporting and encouraging others learning behaviours.
I can see how this terminology is going to catch on as some shared vocabulary for our school. Especially with the parents. Interestingly – one thing I have learnt to do, when talking about this with parents is to emphasise the ‘active learning’ aspect rather than ‘independent learning’ as the latter has overtones of teachers trying to take a back seat to the process.
So – here are 2 aspects of our programme that we have recently invested in across our school to help develop the agency of our students. While not exhaustive, they both form some important pillars to help empower our learners.
One of our teacher only days this term was spent working with Pam Hook, exploring the ways to incorporate the Solo Taxonomy approach in our classrooms. Solo is an assessment method that involves students, at all stages of the learning journey, to help them see where their understanding is and what to work on next. Pam, @arti_choke, has a knack for explaining the approach in a way that makes sense for people and has developed some fantastic resources for teachers to use with their learners.
She is always very generous with her resources on her site and we have already started using the hexagons, thinking maps and assessment matrix tools. My goal for our class is to be able to use the assessment icons and levels to be able to understand and articulate how well they have grasped a skill or idea and what they should next. This should give us some important vocabulary to use during those crucial learning conversations.
e.g, “How well do I know how to use syllables to decode words? Well, my understanding is at ‘multi-structural’ but I need to understand when and why to use them when I read – that will move my understanding to the ‘relational’ level.”
Learning Pathways and Self Selected Workshops
Last week our Senior Teachers travelled to Dunedin to visit St Clair School and we were hosted by @msbeenz (Claire Buist) AP and teacher, and her team. We have been hugely influenced by Claire’s approach with empowering students to self assess their progress using Goal Sheets and then booking workshops with the teacher. We were very impressed to hear their journey with this approach last year and to see the development of this approach with her team this year.
Our Senior Team has begun to adopt this approach, with our own spin, and combined it within our team teaching approach which will have, I can already see, the following benefits.
- increased student agency
- increased quality and quantity of learning conversations to help guide and support the learner.
- more active and engaged learners!