Nurturing Learner Agency Through Inquiry- Aucklandpresented by Kath Murdoch
Nurturing learner agency through inquiry:How using an inquiry approach helps learners OWN their learning!
"How we teach slowly shapes the way young people respond to the unknown – to change, challenge, complexity and uncertainty. Our teaching can steer them toward becoming more positive, confident, and capable in the face of difficulty. OR it can steer them toward becoming more timid, dogmatic and insecure." (Claxton, 2018)Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning and how to learn. (Malaguzzi, 1998)
At the heart of the inquiry approach has always been the belief that learning is, quite simply, something that the learner does – not something that is done to them. Inquiry based teachers work in ways that support the learner to do ‘the heavy lifting’ - figuring things out, making choices and decisions and formulating and investigating their own questions. We are now well into the 21st century with an increasing commitment to growing learners who not only have an understanding of their world but have skills and attributes needed to manage their own learning in complex contexts. This is often described as having agency - a key concept in the current landscape of schoolingWhen applied thoughtfully, the use of an inquiry approach is all about agency. Inquiry teachers intentionally help learners build transferable skills and dispositions as they investigate questions of significance to them. When the approach is applied to authentic problems or challenges in local and global contexts the agentive dimension of learner identity can be further amplified. Empowering young learners to own their learning requires a sophisticated repertoire of strategies and a commitment to co construction of knowledge, skills, routines and learning spaces.This workshop introduces participants to a number of key strategies that drive inquiry and strengthen learner agency. What do we mean by ‘agency’ and what might this ‘look like’ in our students?