So what are the implications for us as teachers, and as educational leaders? As we think about how our schools are going to be places that will prepare kids for life and work in the 21st century with the 21st century skills and knowledge and innovative approaches and all that sort of thing, we need to be encouraging them to be agentic in their learning, because that’s what they are going to need to be able to do beyond school of course - in work, and as citizens.
We could start by adopting the use of individualised education plans (IEPs) as a way of personalising the approach to learning, not just in terms of the delivery, but in terms of the learners’ ownership of that learning - the direction, content, process, and assessment of that learning. As we are doing that, we must consider who will design that IEP, who will be involved in that process, who will have access to that and be responsible for monitoring progress through it.
It is critical to consider the pedagogical approaches that are adopted by teachers and schools, and to question and challenge those that are overtly teacher-centric, with an emphasis on delivery and curriculum coverage. Learner agency will develop when learners are involved in the whole learning process - including decisions about the curriculum itself, involving learners a lot more in the choices about the what as well as the how and the why of what is being learned.
Student voice is another aspect of agentic behaviour. We need to consider how is that reflected in the day to day decisions that are made around school - not simply in order to satisfy ourselves that we’ve heard what students have to say, but in more engaged and authentic ways that are about their learning. For example, BYOD projects are currently being considered by many schools. There’s a great deal of variance in terms of how schools will implement such schemes, from those that decide to go down that track of prescribing precisely what sort of device it must be, and what applications will be used and when and how, through to those that choose to accommodate a range of devices based on what students currently own and can afford. The latter may be considered a more agentic approach, but the key thing is to consider how the original decision is arrived at in the first place.
- What use is made of IEPs in your school to enable the development of a personalised approach to teaching and learning?
- Who designs these? Who has access to them?
- How is student voice reflected in all aspects of school life?
- What safeguards do you have for ensuring no students ‘fall through the cracks’?
Examples and links
- Students at the Centre: Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice (PDF, 2.1 MB)
- Ethos: How Gardening Enables Interdisciplinary Learning
- You Tube: TN Student Speaks Out About Common Core, Teacher Evaluations, and Educational Data
- You Tube: Engage Me!
- Tech Sherpas
- E-portfolios: How we measure what we value
Learn, participate, and share
CORE staff are using Bundlr to collate links to articles and information relating to personalisation in a Bundlr collection. There is the option for you to choose to follow the growing collection over the next few months.
This resource is the result of a literature scan and a series of conversations with students and teachers from three New Zealand schools. The schools involved in this resource feature innovative learning environments (ILE). Students and teachers were asked similar questions about agency, and reviewed one another’s responses. Our approach identified ten conditions that foster agentic learners to support teachers, leaders, and learning communities to shift the ownership of learning.
We hope you will use these conditions to:
- explore new ideas, communicate challenges, and prompt learner focused discussions
- use the ‘shifting the ownership of learning review tool’ to “take the temperature” of learner agency within your school or community
- identify priorities and implement practices or systems that enable learner agency.
This resource is a practical tool for teachers or learning teams, leaders, educators, and learning communities to support the process of change and shift the ownership of teaching and learning, placing it firmly in the hands of the learners themselves.