Faced with the traditional tasks of setting up routines and procedures for their classrooms, teachers in the Marysville Exempted Village School District took a different tack this year. Immersed in the development of personalized learning and competency-based education, school staff have wrestled with what it really means to have learners at the center. When engaged in inquiry of best practices for Personalized Learning, we’ve looked at student agency, which refers to the level of control, autonomy, and power that a student experiences in an educational situation. This led teachers to examine their own practices and reflected on all the ways they afforded kids the opportunities to have power, autonomy, and control.
Understanding that agency is a critical disposition if they want their students to be drivers of their own learning, teachers developed experiences to solicit student voice in establishing classroom rules. Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, were used as a tool to begin to develop agency in students. Instead of teacher-created posters and lists of the rules and procedures, children were able to co-create these SOPs with the teachers.
— Robin Kanaan (@RobinKanaan) September 7, 2016
Cubbies, hallways, morning routines and circle time, literacy block, restrooms, lunchroom – all are familiar in a school setting and require procedures and routines as part of the building climate. Including, no insisting, that children have a seat at the table to determine what these are increases engagement, ownership, agency, and moves from a “rule-ridden” environment of compliance to a learning community where students voice is valued and nurtured!