As we explored in my last blog, the concept of Learner Agency is gaining more and more importance around the world. Fortunately, it’s not a new concept – it dates back to at least the 17th century. And teachers who have been following my work on Growth Mindset and Learning Agility find they are ahead of the Learner Agency curve, already adopting many strategies that develop agency in learners.
Defining Learner Agency
Drawing on research and definitions of Learner Agency used by organisations like the OECD, Harvard University’s Achievement Gap Initiative, the International Baccalaureate Organisation, and the Victorian and New Zealand departments of education, I offer the following definition of Learner Agency. This definition synthesises the key ideas to provide teachers with an understanding of what Learner Agency is and a clear direction for developing it in learners.
The result of having agency is that you can choose your path through life. You act on the...
Do you ever feel like you’re dragging your students through the learning process?
You set most of the challenges. You plan for and scaffold the learning. You find their mistakes, and then you show them how to correct them.
It can seem like some students just coast along. They complete most of the work, but you worry they’re not really challenging themselves.
One of my biggest concerns was that too many of my students weren’t taking charge of their learning. They were passive learners.
My students were learning the basic concepts and moving through the year levels. They were even getting decent grades and experiencing success in terms of achieving outcomes. But I often had the nagging feeling I wasn’t preparing them well enough for a life of learning.
I now realise these students lacked what I’ve come to call “Learnership”.
First, We Need Quality Teaching
Through my work with schools, I know the feelings I’ve shared above are...