How can we become agents of student agency?
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
Student agency is fast become the hot topic in education, allowing students to learn by letting them create their own journey. How can we support this idea?
We are currently teaching Generation Z. This is a generation who have grown up with mobile internet, wifi, digital TV, social media and You Tube. They are used to having choice, digest content quickly and are confident to make their own decisions on what they want to watch, listen to, believe in and what they want to work for. Despite this we still have a large number of educators who are resistant to change, using traditional chalk and talk methods, and rote learning often allowing students to create one rigid outcome at the end of a unit.
“In an age where offering choice can make or break a business, this should this be a priority when it comes to our students.”
I wanted to serve this need from an innovative perspective, so I created 'The Agency'. This is a dynamic group of teachers, or Agents, who will work together to generate ideas to promote student agency. Through research and development I have created the following 5 characteristics which I believe identifies an Agent for Agency.
Are you an AGENT?
Agents are actively searching ways to develop their teaching practice. They believe in seeking professional development opportunities, reaching out, connecting and collaborating with other teachers.
Agents are aware of the needs of Generation Z. They take time to listen to what students are interested in. They are empathetic and keep up to date with trends which helps them connect and develop positive student relationships.
Agents know that every child matters and understand the individual needs of their students. Using this knowledge they provide personalised learning opportunities and set student centred goals that allows every child to succeed in their own way.
Agents are regularly generating new and innovative ideas that keep students engaged, allowing them to confidently grow and improve in their achievements. They search for relevant ideas that students can connect with, making sure projects are engaging, purposeful and fun. They provide clear instructions which promote student choice, offering levels of freedom to create their own path of success.
Agents understand that students work at their own individual pace. They don't micro manage them, but do monitor and support, trusting students to complete their work independently. They develop a mutual level of trust which inspires and motivates students to aim high.
We are all on a path of continuous development so it's not necessary that you have all 5 of the above, but are willing to work towards improving them so you can serve your 21st century learners best. It's not easy being creative and innovative all of the time, in fact it can be exhausting. I've found the best way to keep things balanced is to connect with other like-minded educators, or AGENTS who can share and help promote ideas along the way.
This will take place by starting with a monthly #Agents4Agency twitter chat to discuss ideas and practices followed by an Agency Conference in April, location TBC.
Do you believe in student agency? Are you an agent ready to collaborate with others? Join The Agency by submitting the form below.