Early Years Teacher Maddison Cooper Shares Her Thoughts on Agency Learning
I am honoured to write to you this week about ‘Agency’. This is a hot topic in education currently with many educators exploring how they can provide opportunities for students to be agents of their own learning, beginning in the Early Years all the way to Senior Students. As you will be aware our Early Years and Elementary School follow the PYP Framework. The PYP is currently revealing some enhancements to their programme which sees Agency as an identified key enhancement in the programme. It really is an exciting time to be a student and a teacher!
So what exactly is Agency you ask? The IB tell us in the announcement of their enhancements that “Agency is the power to take meaningful and intentional action, and acknowledges the rights and responsibilities of the individual, supporting voice, choice and ownership for everyone in the learning community”. Supporting choice, voice and ownership regardless of the age of learner provides a powerful opportunity to establish a learning community comprised of students, teachers and families who all work together to support learning that extends well beyond the traditional walls of the classroom. Conceptual learning that can be transferred and applied, using skills and understandings, to a range of contexts throughout life.
Kath Murdoch, a well-respected educator in the field of inquiry would also tell us that “Learning isn’t something that someone does to you”. Developing Agency is a key priority in education as this supports students in co-constructing and self-adjusting their own learning experiences. Supporting Agency helps to build self-efficacy and a greater sense of learning ownership which in turn contributes to students social, emotional and cognitive growth.
Some questions that may help you to consider how you can support the development of Agency as a part of the learning community here at AIS and for your child are “Do you talk about learning, rather than tasks or work?” or “Do you model decision making and talk through the process aloud?” how about “Do your interactions demonstrate belief in the learners’ capacity to own their learning?” I leave you with this thought, Learner Agency enhances the notion of ‘Process over Product’, valuing Agency begins by accepting that students are capable learners and natural inquirers, beginning with our youngest children in Infant Care!
Simply register online to secure your child’s place at AIS.