Research into Student Agency
With the significant changes to the education of students during the pandemic, concerns over learning loss have loomed large in education systems across the country and the world. However, the loss of independence, ownership, and motivation to learn may have a greater and more long-lasting effect on students unless it is addressed and mitigated. The purpose of this study was to assess whether purposeful teacher actions to promote student agency would have an effect on students' agentic feelings and actions. The study references research about the benefits of agentive dispositions in children. Teachers at one elementary school were asked to participate in professional learning activities and to work collaboratively to determine agreements for school wide common practices in service of promoting student agency. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from both teachers and students in the form of teacher surveys and student focus groups/interviews. The data were analyzed to determine the impact of implementing the strategies and practices intended to promote student agency. The results of the study reveal that the students were influenced by what was happening in classrooms across the school. Students were able to identify their own agentive behavior and were able to articulate examples of teacher actions that led to an increased sense of ownership for their learning.
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A huge component of agency is self-efficacy which requires students to be able to reflect on how they see themselves as a learner. The opportunities are great to think that students could really have a voice in the direction of their learning not only for themselves but for their classroom community. If students were given the opportunity to be innovators through their own creativity, it could create a cycle of continuous motivation and improvement.
Link to Literature Review
Link to IRB Approval Letter