Why Students Make Poor Choices

I was coaching a principal recently who was feeling frustrated about the poor choices her students were making. She’d been working hard to ensure her school offered students lots of opportunities.She prided herself on the range of academic subjects available to students, as well as providing multiple pathways into apprenticeships and further study.

But she was frustrated because many of her students tended to take the easiest options or chose to do nothing at all. Despite the opportunities on offer many students seemed to have low aspirations, didn’t want to challenge themselves, and appeared unmotivated.

Why were students making such poor choices?

As we spoke, I explained how a student’s mindset impacts the choices they make. Students with a fixed mindset believe their choices are limited by the abilities they have. They think that being comes before doing. So, they need to have the abilities to do something before they can...

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Learner Agency is an outcome, not a pedagogy

There’s a lot of talk in education at the moment about Learner Agency (aka student agency). In the name of agency we are supposed to give students “voice and choice” in their learning. But there’s something very important that we are missing. In this blog I help you understand Agency, what it is and what it isn’t, and I offer you a practical model for developing Learner Agency.

Without digging into the philosophical roots of agency, the concept is probably most easily described by thinking about what it’s not. Someone who lacks agency becomes the victim of their circumstances. They feel powerless, unable to influence the world around them, particularly when facing adversity.

Someone with agency is powerful, the master of their circumstances. When they are confronted with adversity, they can take action and influence their world. They have a voice in the world, and they have the power to exercise their free will to make choices. They are the...

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Raising the Status of Learning In 2024

Make 2024 the year you raise the status of learning in your school from an act, to an art.

Over the past 10-15 years the intense focus on teacher quality, effective sizes and standards of teaching, has resulted in the development of a teaching culture. Schools have become places where it’s all about the teaching. We see learning to be an outcome of teaching. The premise has been that when teachers teach, learning happens. When teachers teach well, more learning happens.

But where is the student in this equation?

Look at the role description for the “teaching and learning” position at your school. In almost every school I visit this role involves ensuring quality teaching is happening, and measuring that student learning outcomes have been met.

How are students contributing to their own learning?

Teacher Quality

The last 10-15 year has seen an increase in the status of quality teaching. But this hasn’t been without its downside. Nicole Mockler, associate...

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