Yesterday I joined our Senior Hub 2 (Year 6, 7 and 8) team meeting. It was encouraging to hear the team ask the same question to each other at different times during the meeting: How is this activity providing student agency? The meeting began with staff sharing ways that they had adapted their own practices to allow student agency.
A quick reminder on what student agency means as sited in the elearning infusion blog by Nick Rate :
- Teachers use planned pedagogical approaches that engage students and enable them to take charge of their learning leading to high achievement (Mark Osborne).
- Students are empowered through curriculum approaches that; engage them, are respectful of and seek their opinions, give them opportunities to feel connected to school life, promote positive and caring relationships between all members of the school community, promote wellbeing and focus on the whole student, relate to real-life experiences, are safe and supportive (Values Centered Schools).
Actually involving the learners in decisions and structured choices can be challenging. It means that teachers have to move out of their 'being in control' comfort zone. It starts with small steps. Here is an example. Last term the learning hubs introduced Learner Licences. This was an idea adapted from our visit to Myross Bush School. Our staff created their own rubrik linked to the key competencies.
Key competencies are an integral part of the NZ Curriculum and TKI online describes them in this way: Key competencies are the capabilities people have, and need to develop, to live and learn today and in the future.
|St Joseph's SH 2 Learner License rubrik|
Student agency began with little steps. However, giant leaps were made during the course of this meeting with learners in response to student voice.
|Minutes from the SH 2 meeting in response to student voice leading to student agency|
|Learner License display in SH 2|
Cushla and Trish share their thoughts as well.
As staff take small steps towards increasing student agency, students begin to make giant leaps in their learning.