Now I have started to bring visuals into the whole hub through our Achieving Agency wall. As a hub team we wanted to bring our 'Caught Being' wall to life and integrate the aspects of Agency to get the learners using the language of learning and link it to our learner qualities.
We have used our Agency Language of learning and linked them to each of our learner qualities then I created visuals to go along with this concept. My other hub member has created an online game to go hand in hand with the visuals, adhering to various cognitive functions across the whole hub.
This is an example of my modelling book that shows how I can link any area of the curriculum to the aspects of Agency using the visuals. The more I model and use the vocabulary the more this will build up the understanding in the learners to use independently.
Posts have been put on hold recently as I have been setting up my Preventative Planning Programme. However, while reflecting on my approach to teaching the support learners and speaking with other educators on my recent training programme, the need for us to empathise with our learners is becoming more and more evident.
So, this image is my way of putting everything I have been researching into a diagram to best show how I have been planning using visuals.
Empathising with our learner's cognitive functions by planning for abstract learning through concrete visuals to enable higher thinking and agency.
I have put this is into my diagram as I believe it sums up exactly what I have been trying to achieve in my planning. This is the key goal that I am trying to achieve as part of my Preventative Planning Programme because by planning for the visuals, resources and intentional questioning I have been enabling my learners to access higher level thinking and abstract concepts. They have been able to drive their own learning because I have looked at their cognitive needs and planned resources that will enable them to be agentic and take action independently instead of relying on support to achieve their goal for the lesson.
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.
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.
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.