During the past week, I have had a wonderful opportunity to connect with other educators from around the world at the IB Heads and Global Conference in Singapore. This event creates a platform to engage with others and share ideas and experiences.
Something I wanted to share from the presentations and discussions that took place is the importance of student agency.
Agency is the power to take meaningful action and recognises the rights and responsibilities of the individual. It means supporting each students voice, choice, and ownership. This struck a chord with me and made me reflect on our practices in the EY/PY division.
Through our inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning the students are often given choices. But do their choices drive what they do? Or do we offer them alternatives e.g ways of presenting what they know or choosing which direction they want to go to first?
We definitely recognise our students’ as confident and capable learners in the classrooms. At the moment they are driving the organisation of their own student-led conferences.
Within a wider community, we have ongoing initiatives, some of which have come directly from the students and somewhere we have asked for their involvement.
Here, at GEMS (Singapore) we always look for ways to enhance what we do. As we move into the fourth quarter of this academic year the most important question I will be reflecting on with teachers and students is:
“Are our students being given an opportunity to truly influence what they learn?”
I look forward to updating you with examples of this in the months ahead.
Wishing all of our families a restful break!
Neil White, Early/Primary Years Principal