Subsequently the leadership team (and later, other staff) visited the school and saw some of the practices in action. The force behind this change is the rapid and ever-increasing pace of change, the complexity of the world in which we live and the unpredictability of what people will need to know in the coming decades – the future for which we are preparing today’s learners. We have a sense of ‘agency’ when we feel in control of things that happen around us; when we feel that we can influence events. Agency definition is - the office or function of an agent. A direct connection can be found between self-directed learning, learner agency, and emotional intelligence. This post includes an interview with Alix Horton, a School Development and Literacy Coach for the New Tech Network , as well as a few thoughts from Randy Ziegenfuss, a Pennsylvania superintendent. This jumpstarts the process of becoming a learner and developing agency in their learning. Here’s how one learner described the way learning happens at Norris Academy. “I am a learner. How to use agency in a sentence. It’s quite fun as well. Each design challenge includes a four-step process with “five levels of input” so everyone’s voices are captured and included in the design. Johnna Noll, Executive Director at Norris Academy, is an innovative thinker leading the transformation of the Norris School District to a student centric model of anytime, anywhere learning that is based on a multidimensional assessment that informs a robust learner profile. Education Week, 16(23). Well, they are designed around our passions, future career opportunities, and academic needs. 16-22, 26-28; 2008b, pp. I will be welding a large N that we will fill with decorative rocks painted by other learners at Norris. While working on these projects, we focus on developing social skills in contextualized, real-world experiences and building strategies to design, engage, and persevere in open-walled learning experiences that are personalized and contextualized to our interests. Learner agency is embedded in The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies as “the capabilities that young people need for growing, working, and participating in their communities...The school curriculum should challenge students to use and develop the competencies across the range of learning areas and in increasingly complex and unfamiliar situations” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 38). The following are illustrative examples. Agency is expressed when learners become the lead designers of their learning paths and take ownership in identifying the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to cultivate to drive their personal or community vision forward. As children advance through the system, they develop a form of “learned helplessness” that keeps them from advocating for themselves. In addition to the learning specialist, we also have an employability specialist, citizenship specialist, wellness specialist, global resource specialist, and community coaches. We want to share our approach with other learner-centered leaders with the hope that our practice will inspire new and fresh ideas that you can weave into your own. Paula, Director of Development at Norris Academy, has led school teams through the implementation of personalized learning as an Instructional Coach and Personalized Learning Coordinator. (1997, March 5). Like the youth learners, the adults participate in ongoing reflection and pathway adjustment to become the learning professionals they aspire to be. As children advance through the system, they develop a form of “learned helplessness” that keeps them from advocating for themselves. There is a significant and growing demand for learners to be able to do more than receiving instruction, follow a learning path designed by educators and complete problems and assignments presented to them by an adult. There is a significant and growing demand for learners to be able to do more than receiving instruction, follow a learning path designed by educators and complete problems and assignments presented to them by an adult. To put it simply, this is the power of a learning network. While it is innate for us to have agency, our current mental models of school systems often limit agentic practices. Norris Academy’s focus on learner agency invites an entirely new way of designing learning and the structures that support it. Agency is developed when learners—youth and adults—become empowered to think and act independently. Strategy #2: Give students opportunities to self-assess on their learning. As educators, we must nurture, coach and build in learners more capacity to initiate, manage, and maintain their own learning. Personal learning begins with a learning specialist who helps learners use their profile to co-design a unique plan and pathway that capitalizes on passions and addresses personal needs. A project like the one described starts with connections to the global community. In addition to sharing our story with the participants of the workshop,… And, they must possess the skills to learn independently, without heavy dependence on external structures and direction. This process may take significant time. 28-32; 2009a, p. 9), and affording it a more prominent elaboration of learner control in the social cognitive theory framework (Bandura, 2005, pp. They must take ownership of and responsibility for their learning. What actually makes each project idea actually an example of project-based learning depends on how the project is mapped out and planned, what learning is assessed and how, the degree of agency and voice the student is allowed, the period of time over which the ‘project’ is ‘completed,’ and so on. This is where we take advantage of our five levels of input strategy; these include: Directors, Specialists, Coaches, Learners, and Extended Community Members. experience We believe in the transformative power of great digital learning, and how important it is for your employees to have the knowledge and resources they need to succeed in their roles. The team shares their profiles with their peers to gain an understanding of each member’s needs, leadership skills, and strengths, so we can capitalize on these during the design and implementation process of our new strategies. Even though the term “student agency” is the new buzz word regarding our learners in the PYP, it really isn’t altogether new. A project like this one requires a lot of varied interests, talents, and learning opportunities. We encourage you to take a look at our course, Learn Better, a research-driven set of modules that is designed to teach you how to learn. The learning process for youth and the design process for adults empower all our learners to think and act independently—achieving their goals by actively getting involved, making decisions that impact their own experiences, and initiating autonomous learning. When I work with teachers, I am quick to point out that student agency does not mean students make all of the decisions, but it does mean they get to make some of them. To gain an understanding of what is needed on their journeys to develop their whole selves, learners participate in mini-explorations, which include creating their learner profile and presenting who they are to their learning network—an interconnected panel of adults and peers that provides wrap-around support. Developing agentic learners is more than offering a list of choices and seeking student voice. Conducting a student questionnaire will allow us to study the social environment of a school. Educators can design pathways of learning that promote students’ awareness of their current strengths and weaknesses relative to … Learners are also considering starting a few clubs to enhance this pursuit, including a photography club that will take time-lapse photos of the project, an art club to design the field logo, and an intramural sports team that will play other organizations within our surrounding community. In his explanation, you’ll be introduced to the word “pursuit”—what our youth learners call the process of identifying a problem and seeking a solution. All of the specialists and coaches are learning right alongside our youth. Learner Agency in 7 different ways At the end of October 2018, the IB's Primary Year's Programme released the much-anticipated new digital resource, "PYP: From principles into practice" (available on My IB's Programme Resource Centre). Student agency builds the critical thinking and problem solving skills students need to thrive. Adults also complete learner profiles through which they determine who they are and who they want to become. Barbara Bray is a Creative Learning Strategist and owner/founder of Computer Strategies, LLC with its divisions My eCoach (my-ecoach.com) and Rethinking Learning where she shares her resources, stories, and more about learning and life. The above examples highlight only a small fraction of the great work being done across the country to build student agency. SLO Process Overview. What does education look like in a post-COVID world? Required fields are marked *, Contact ME I look forward to hearing from you, Define Your WHY Book Giveaway and Mini-Contest Winners, post about learner agency being the missing piece on the collaborative blog series, Episode #107: Engaging Learners in the Online Environment with Dr. Cynthia Sistek-Chandler, Empathy for YOU in Uncertain Times (Reflection #9), Episode #106: Inspiring the Next Generation Leaders, Thinkers, and Problem Solvers with Derek Wenmoth, 10 Steps to Encourage Student Voice and Choice, Kevin McLaughlin shares PJs: Personal Journeys, Top 10 Rethinking Learning Posts in 2017 | Rethinking Learning, Student Agency – Resources – Kaiako Kate Paris, Teacher Autonomy and Coaching - Steve Barkley, Episode #109: Play and Joy through Embodied Learning with Tommaso Lana, Reflection #10 on Humanized Pandemic Teaching with Chris McNutt, Episode #108: Aspire to Lead with Empathy, Creativity, and Passion with Joshua Stamper, Website Design by Sara Zimmerman Art, Illustration and Design, when they need new learning and how to learn what they need, when they need to unlearn what will no longer serve them, when they need to relearn what they need to be successful. You may be wondering what is unique about these projects. At Norris Academy, we are focused on developing learner agency at all levels of the organization from learners to leaders. For youth, the first 30 days at Norris Academy begin with an orientation that includes a four-dimensional self-reflection. To give you an idea, here are some inspiring examples of learning goals: Learning Goals for Students As a student, learning goes beyond building your knowledge in world history, the laws of gravity, and the sonnets of Shakespeare, as it also centers on your personal values. We must expand on the knowledge that we have gained about ourselves during Norris’s self-reflection orientations. Today, he predicts that young people know about 2% of what they will need to know. This is where all stakeholders will start to see a visible change in practice. Learning will be a constant and high-priority activity throughout their lives and they will need the skills and tools to manage this process. I have been a student for several years of my life. Developing student agency. I have attended school, gone to classes, studied content, taken tests to prove what I have learned, and moved on to the next level. They will survey the land, create the architectural design, and do most of the construction. Below is a definition from 10 Tips for Developing Student Agency. My focal point project will be displayed in our outdoor learning space. Learner agency is when learners have the power to act and make choices. Can we dig a little deeper? Through the lenses of Academics, Employability, Citizenship, and Wellness, learners are encouraged to explore what makes them unique. At this point, you might be wondering how all of this is possible. Self-direct and monitor progress in learning. The leader as a learner. Learning goals are typically expressed with action verbs that illustrate what participants will be able to do or demonstrate upon completion of learning. The proof is the real-world evidence of learning and application. At Norris Academy, we have a 900-acre campus, and many of our pursuits involve solving problems and creating projects that benefit all of the members of our community. This continues today because teachers are the ones held accountable and responsible for the learning instead of the learners. Given the rate of change in the world, helping young people take charge of their own learning is more important than ever. Student 7: The modern learning environment and student agency is revolutionary, Take me for example, I used to really hate working and coming to school was the downside of my day. Student Learning Objectives are: Identify their passion and purpose for learning. It gives the learning team a chance to communicate the practice widely among all stakeholders—providing the opportunity for everyone to internalize the process. I also share that in my experience the more I release control of the learning to the actual learners, the more rewarding the learning is for everyone. Their strengths and needs in core subjects, Their preferred study methods and learning environments, Ways they can get involved in their local and global communities, Strategies for increasing their zone of engagement. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not a brand new change but rather a shift towards a greater emphasis of providing more deliberate autonomy for our students, thus developing leadership. The team at Norris continuously iterates during this step as different team members join the conversation to build and challenge the current design thinking. In "Learning Transformed," Eric Sheninger and Tom Murray tell us, “Student agency must become the norm, not the exception.” And, I couldn’t agree with them more. And, they must possess the skills to learn independently, without heavy dependence on external structures and direction. Defining Learner Agency. Read more… […], […] Defining Learner Agency (blog post) […], […] “As educators, we must nurture, coach and build in learners more capacity to initiate, manage, and maintain their own learning.” — Barbara Bray […], […] Defining Learner Agency. For youth at Norris Academy, learning means they focus on developing themselves in the four dimensions of Academics, Employability, Citizenship, and Wellness. Some of the other learners are in the process of designing and building a Norris Ball Field (a multi-purpose field for the myriad sports the community is interested in). This step is emphasized because communication is critical in the implementation process. The current educational system was designed for teachers to control and manage the learning. Over the past three years we explored LEARNER AGENCY in an effort to develop an understanding of: what agency looks like in action what it does to a child what teacher dispositions nurture it what curriculum structures honor it, and what […] Join leaders from across the nation in transforming education for all. Currently, the pursuit that I am designing requires me to utilize my research skills and math skills to create a decorative attraction that will become a focal point of Norris Academy. Benefits of Student Questionnaires. Barbara recently launched her new book, Define Your WHY, that is all about owning your story so you live and learn on purpose. The heavy lifting for this project will rest with the Skilled Trades community. Learners must understand: They must develop the capacity to engage strategically in their learning without waiting to be directed. The mid-term evaluation is a process evaluation involving the Agency Field Instructor and the student who together review progress in meeting the practice competencies contained in the Student Learning Contract. In these design sessions, the team identifies the most significant challenges and barriers to reaching the vision of learning at Norris Academy. The actions we take to “problem solve through challenges” are our “promising practices.” Promising practices become the framework that ensures Norris Academy’s vision come to life. Embedding learner agency in school systems, curriculum. The adult learning team participates in weekly design sessions with the Executive Director and the Director of Development. The STEM community will research grasses, plantings, and the chemical maintenance required to enhance the ball field. The process for learning and the role learners play must be different than most adults experienced.
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