Assessment Capability is a big factor when building Agency as it allows the learner to see their goals, next steps and work on ways to achieve these. I have been using visuals to build this with my Literacy group. We have been using colour coded checklists to get the children assessing their work to see if they have included all the features and if not it clearly showed them how to improve their writing.
At the start of the year I noticed a lot of the children were waiting for me saying 'what's next' 'what do I do now.' However, since I have been using these checklists I have noticed the learner's building their ability to drive their own learning as they have these visuals to see what they need to include next. It is also improving peer and self assessment as they know they can work with a partner to clearly discuss next steps. We are still working on these qualities but I have seen great shifts since starting this visual approach.
I have noticed that my learners have been developing their ability to reflect and take ownership of their learning since we have been building their 'powers'. I have given them personalised missions that they have to work on and if they are finding it difficult to be determined when learning gets challenging we have a chat about building their powers and think of ways they can help themselves. These visuals have been very helpful with my Literacy group and I am starting to see a shift in their mindsets.
Brains develop from right to left
The prefrontal cortex
This helps with planning
If your going to label anything then label strengths
Some children and others have ‘stuck brains’
‘Its like being on a fishing trip trying to see what bait we should use’
Most powerful way is verbal feedback ‘ I noticed…. ‘ ‘ I like the way you are…… your next step could be …..’ VALIDATION
‘ Power of positive’
Teach the concept before asking questions
If you have limited time increase the visual
Humans remember gestures more than anything else
Repetition / note making teach children to make notes
Memory hang - Andrew fuller
Importance of Empowerment
Since I have been looking at the importance of building a language for learning and developing individual plans for each child. I have become very interested in how the brain works and how this can help my understanding of each learner on a personal level. So I was lucky to have been able to go to a conference with Nathan Wallis and Andrew Fuller - who gave great insights into the learning brain. Here are my notes from the day:
These are bullet points that explain this model but there is a link in the photo to help shed more light on it;
1 - Brain stem - 'Survival Brain' both 1 and 2 are known as the reptilian brain
2. Mid Brain/ cerebellum - responsible for movement etc
3. Limbic System - Emotions
4. Frontal lobe - Literacy, Numeracy, Empathy
5. Parietal Lobe - visualising language that is spoken to you
Electricity in the centre of the neocons
Information is carried in the neutron pathways ‘ use it or loose it ‘
If you don’t know something you just haven’t generated the neuron pathway to know it
Synaptic connection ‘aww moment’ we have to find out what creates it
Not all neurons stay in your Brain forever - it uses milen. The more we repeat the new learning, the more the pathway gets covered in milen and the more the new learning gets cemented in our memory.
Nothing sets off the neutron pathways than human faces
Digital learning works as well as face to face building on the relationships that you start on top to face to face learning.
Making connections - means you are linking in their network of motor neurone - already having dispositions. So the more we link the children's learning to their passions/ things they are interested in the better their understanding.
Don't destroy the Love of leaning - in brain number 3
Gifted children is a thing
The make up for people can be genetics - hypocampus
Success breeds success
Endorphins allows children to learn if they are in survive mode (cortisol) you can not take in more information starts from evolution
Top 3 release the endorphins -
BRAIN NUMBER 2 NEEDS A RHYTHMIC PATTERN
Cortisol prevents a pathway from creating to make the child know not to do something - if you are learning with cortisol then you are breaking the pathway e.g. shouting makes it harder to learn or the word ‘don’t use ‘ we should do it ….’
Cognitive training in the parietal lobe - repeating saying what you want and describe the behaviour you want to see e.g. ‘sit down on the chair’ instead of ‘go to the seat and do not do that’
Poutama - its like a staircase - need opportunities to practise learning
After a few weeks of trying to stimulate the language of learning through my Visual Resource I realised that the qualities I was trying to get the children to understand where very broad and abstract. So, I reflected on what I believed each of the qualities include and broke this down into key bullet points.
The learners have now created their own "Super Slides" and each week we are focusing on each of these bullet points. I continue to remind the children during the lesson what they are looking for in their learning and at the end of each lesson they choose evidence to show how they are achieving the qualities. This is introducing agency within our learning as they are building their capacity to assess their work and relate it to their own awareness of their learning.
Continually reflecting with other members of staff allows me to refine my resources but the main thing I am realising is my Support Learners are very capable to be agentic but it is our responsibility as educators to provide the platform that they can succeed. So relating these higher level, abstract ideas through pictorial, visual resources I am definitely seeing the children's voice becoming more self aware - making connections between their inner and outer voice.
I am so lucky to work in a school that continually researches and implements tools that helps the children become empowered to reach their potential. So, when discussing what the language of learning that supports Agency looks like I quickly realised we already have this in our hubs; Self Aware, Reflective, Determined, make Connections, Think, Wonder and Question .
However, when I took an audit of the children to see if they could show a deep understanding of where they show these in their learning they struggled. Therefore, I set up our Stonefields Superheroes in my Literacy group as this is where I will be trying to build Agency with my Support Learners.
Introducing this visual resource, I modelled the language for learning and have been getting the children to share their successes at the end of each lesson by making connections into where they have used these qualities throughout the lesson. In turn, I hope to see the children building an understanding of their actions through developing their oral capacity and go from surface level connections to using this vocabulary independently.
I have always had an interest in supporting the 'belows' as I feel they are struggling accessing the learning not because they can not do it! So as part of my inquiry into what agentic learning looks like, I wanted to come from the angle of how can we support learners to be more agentic?
Mark Treadwell's The Future of learning has given me great insights into starting my inquiry and I believe before we can expect our learners to even think about being agentic we have to equip them with a language for their learning and support them in understanding their thinking and how this has an impact on their actions.
Although we do not know what the future holds I feel we have to attempt to understand what qualities and skills will be needed/desired to be successful adults: creative, risk takers who can self regulate and adapt to a changing environment (with confidence or resilience?). - That's my thoughts anyways. Helping children to accept and understand what ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable so you are prepared for anything’ means.