ABC of inquiry – AGENCY: “Education is not a tool for development – individual, community and the nation. It is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens the youth to chase their dreams”. Nita Ambabi’s words remind us that by supporting students to have and develop agency we are setting them up to become future creators and decision makers.
AGENCY: The #1 learners detective agency
Agency is an action or intervention that produces a particular effect and outcome, particularly in a learners own life. Having agency enables people to engage, act and use learning in ways that are meaningful and relevant. People are clever creatures, they will find sites of agency in even the strictest of regimes, learners are never passive. Learning communities that embrace learner agency mean engagement is higher and the need to micromanage a class is greatly reduced. It means that learners are supported to take thoughtful and deliberate actions that affect their own and others learning.
For a learner to have agency it means that they are actively involved in developing a community of practice and co-researchers in learning process. It means they get to share, develop, test and reflect on ideas in ways that are relevant to who they are at this stage of their learning journey. It means that learners are encouraged and able to respond and plan what they can do with their abilities.
Agency can be scaffolded and developed through:
The WHO of learning
Choice of group formation
Choice of learning buddies(Solo, pair or group)
Student nominated mentors
The WHEN of learning
Flexible ways of organizing time for tasks
Innovative ideas and structures for daily timetables
The WHERE of learning
Collaborative setting up of learning spaces
Flexible choices in learning spaces
Open choice in where to sit/stand/ interact during learning
The WHAT of learning
Personalized or differentiated learning engagements
Collaboratively developed guiding questions
Student generated research topics
The HOW of learning
Valuing difference and variety in problem solving or research approaches
Personalized order for inquiry process or experimental task
The WHY of learning
Finding personally relevant connections or uses for learning outside the classroom
Letting personal experiences become launchpads for inquiries
Sharing curriculum outcomes and scaffolding experiences for learners to test and develop their skills and understandings in personally relevant ways
BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.