Monday, December 14, 2015

Building Learner Agency Conversations

We thought we would start this post about the conversations on Learner Agency with an excerpt from our first post in our blog series on Learner Agency that we developed with the Institute for Personalized Learning.

"Learner Agency often gets missed in conversations on transforming the educational system. 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.

They must develop the capacity to engage strategically in their learning without waiting to be directed."

"When learners say, I struggle to know when to stop my learning, they have agency."
Dr. James Rickabaugh

After we completed the blog series, we asked Dr. James Rickabaugh @drrickabaugh to co-moderate #plearnchat on Learner Agency and share with #plrnchat. Jim is Director of the Institute for Personalized Learning @institute4pl and former Superintendent of Whitefish Bay Schools in Whitefish Bay, WI. He served as Midwest Regional President for Voyager Expanded Learning of Dallas, TX. He also served as Superintendent of Schools for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District in Burnsville, MN. More about Jim and a few quotes from Jim from the chat:
"Ownership/independence: outgrowth of agency-lets learners see learning as something they do for selves."
"Voice conveys respect and inclusion. Invitation to invest, take responsibility & own learning."
"Get to know the learner. Look for talent. Believe it is there and you will find it."
"Agency provides a reason to commit, risk and persist in the face of challenges and setbacks."
We also want to recognize and thank the team at The Institute for Personalized Learning for collaborating with us on the blog series on Learner Agency.

We designed the questions with Jim Rickabaugh that we pulled together from our collaborative blog series. 

We realized that there is so much to know about building Learner Agency that we asked our friends in both of our PLNs (#plearnchat and #plrnchat). This was a real active #plearnchat with amazing educators from around the world. We wanted to list so many more of the posts from the chat but we had to choose a few to share with you:
Rose Colby @rose_rosecolby
"To me, agency is beyond choice and voice. It is more about a kid making decisions--develops over time to independence."  
Charity Dodd @Charity Dodd
"Ownership and independence leads to confidence for learners to set goals and take steps towards reaching their goals. " 
Chris Quinn @ChrisQuinn64
"Learners see themselves as capable, empowered learners with limitless possibilities for growth and learning." 
Derek Doucet @DerekDoucet
"If learners don't own their learning it's just something they do to avoid consequences but when they own it, they learn to learn." 
Mike Mohammad @Mo_physics
"agency = I can make choices and act on these choices to make difference in my life" from a student reflection."
Jobs for the Future @jfftweets
"Learner Agency is the initiative and capacity to act in a way that produces meaningful change in oneself or the environment."
Jason Ellingson @jasonellingson
"Learning should be FOR them, not TO them."

We archive the entire chat below using #storify


A few resources for you from the chat:

Defining Learner Agency: The Missing Link
Does Student Voice Lead to Student Agency? by@chrkennedy
Learning Independence Continuum (whitepaper) by @drrickabuagh


Congratulations to Lisa Brennan from Richmond, VA who won our book, Make Learning Personal

Lisa Brennan, @noveltalk, currently serves as librarian at St. Christophers, an all-boys middle school, prior to that I taught 6th grade Language Arts, Reading Resource and even 1st grade. Being a librarian allows me to collaborate with all learners and teachers in the school community to focus on literacy, inquiry and learning. Lisa and her husband, Charlie, have two teenage sons, John and Joe.

"By fostering agency, we are opening doors - inviting inquiry,
empowering ownership, prep-ing Ss for authentic future success."

Check out learner-led magazine that Lisa helped launch and #books4teenboys that she promotes.


Next #plearnchat Topic is "Moving from Standardization" with Tom Whitford

will be after the holidays on Monday, January 11th
7pm ET, 6pm CT, 5pm MT, 4pm PT