We know learner agency is important for our students to develop: to learn to advocate for themselves, to make choices, to practice self-awareness and an understanding of themselves as learners. But even though we want our students to take ownership and be agents of their own learning, many of our traditional teaching structures prevent this from happening. It isn’t just about offering students choices, but being intentional about those choices, trusting our students to make the right choice – and being prepared to reflect and learn with them when they don’t.Lori outlines how, if the choices students make don't work out as anticipated, reflection helps them consider how to make better choices next time. She also writes about developing structures with students to enable them to make good choices and most importantly of all, how when offering students choices teachers should consider the needs of the students as having a higher priority than the needs of the task.
I took a look into PYP: From principles into practice today to pull together the understandings about importance of reflection and learner agency. Students with a strong sense of self-efficacy also have a strong sense of agency. To foster self efficacy, teachers can:
- build in time for reflection to enhance students’ awareness about the success of their efforts and ways to improve in the future
- provide time for reflection at all stages of learning—before, during and after inquiries.
- promote a range of tools for reflection and ensure that reflection activities are responsive and varied
- provide the structure and language for reflection
- co-construct success criteria and provide reflection opportunities that include students' self-assessment of their learning
- provide effective feedback that offers opportunities for reflection and action