Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Learner Agency

As regular readers will know, I'm developing a PYP Workshop entitled Implementing Agency together with a colleague working in Saudi Arabia.  Developing this workshop has been a great learning experience for me too - and it has made me more intentional about noticing the opportunities for student agency in my own school.

This morning I was in Grade 1.  Our students are coming to the end of their Where We Are in Place and Time unit.  During this unit students have inquired into the many ways of finding out where they are in the world, which has included the places they are from, places they have journeyed to, and how our host country, India, is like and unlike other countries.  The unit ends next week and students have been given choices about how they can show their understanding of the unit in their summative assessment.  They have already been introduced to several tech tools over the course of the year, and the teachers are also keen to give students "non-tech" options as well.  In the class I was in this morning, these choices were as follows:
  • Make a poster
  • Make a book
  • Make a Spark Video
  • Make a slideshow
  • Bring in artefacts and talk about them.
For me the important thing is that students are choosing the method where they feel they are most likely to succeed.  They have taken ownership of and are responsible for their own learning.  In fact, as the choices were outlined, one student mentioned he wanted to show his learning in a different way from those listed.  The teacher encouraged him to talk to her about alternatives ways he could use for his assessment.

The students, homeroom teacher, teaching assistant, tech support team and myself are now partners in the learning.  We are all helping the children to plan, present and assess their learning.  I love the way that we have moved away from a "cookie cutter" approach to assessment, and that we are truly building efficacy in our students.

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

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