ABC OF INQUIRY – CHOICE “Problems develop when people internalize conversations that restrain them to a narrow description of self. These stories are experienced as oppressive because they limit the perception of available choices.” This Kathleen S.G. Skott- Myhre quote sums up how all people in all communities need safe places and trusted people to help them make choices. Choice is embedded in power and we as teachers need to constantly review our relationship with power and how that plays itself out both for ourselves and for our learners.
CHOICE: Having a voice…
Choice is about having an opportunity and safe place to have a say and a voice in areas connected to the learning community and community environment. Teachers’ choices are affected by the politics and power of the bigger school system and their own belief systems. Parents’ choices are affected by their personal experiences at schools, family requirements and personal belief systems. Students’choices are affected by how visible power structures are in their learning community, their teachers’/schools’ belief systems and the amount of trust they feel exists in these interactions.
Choice is always tempered by age, understanding and experience. Choice is a cause–effect relationship; every choice will have an effect. The effect may be constructive and useful or lead to difficulties. It is critical that learners have opportunities, from a very young age,to practice choice making and to experience or reflect on the consequencesof these choices. Mistake making in safe environments with constructive reflections are a critical part of young choice makers becoming competent older choice makers.
Choice is connected to agency
There are many areas choice can be offered in a learning community:
WHO – Choices connected to grouping, paired or solo work made by the students, relies on teachers being open and trusting of students ability to make good learning–buddy choices
WHAT– Choices connected to personally relevant learningrelies on differentiated options being available
WHERE – Choices connected the variety of learning spaces available to students, relies on teachers being open to the way learning spaces are organised and understanding that all people learn more effectively in different spaces
WHEN – Choices connected to organising self in learning, relies on students developing skills in time management and self-organisation,and teachers trusting in these skills and providing open learning times.
WHY – Choices about the personal relevance of learning and life outside the classroom
HOW – Choices connected to the tools, strategies and processes of learning made by the students
BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.