Primary School Principal Reflection

Developing student agency improves equity and access

We expect our school community to be one where students ask, Why are we studying this? What does it have to do with my life? I’m seven, what can I do about it?

Agency has been the latest buzz word in all we do since we started the school year. What a great opportunity for us all to have voice, choice and ownership of our learning. Regardless whether it’s about art, play-based learning in the Early Years or well-being, we are all excited and can’t wait to have agency.

I used the following questions to reflect on the practice of agency  in our school this month. Where are we? What have we already done?  How have we given the opportunity to our students and teachers to share their voice?  Have we given them choices in learning, doing (what to learn, how they learn, where and when they learn? How can we reinforce the voice, choice and ownership in our classrooms and in our school?

 

Deeper reflections and inquiry about student agency came to my mind. So, what is student agency?

Student agency refers to learning through engagements that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and that are often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers as facilitators of learning.  Student agency gives students voice and often, choice, in how they learn.

This gives students a stake in choosing from opportunities provided for them. Samples are; projects, writing assignments, or other engagements. Their ability to make a decision triggers a greater investment of interest and motivation.

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First Grade student choosing a center/station and what to write about

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Fourth Grade teacher using questioning as a powerful tool to elicit thinking and student voice.

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Our Learning hub also offer choice for reading using visuals for students to deepen their understandings.