For some people it might seem like things are moving fast and furious where PYP and student agency are concerned. Having worked within the PYP for 15 years, I believe we are on the edge of an exciting shift in practice that is creating tension in schools, but simultaneously transforming practice – reassuringly, as Kathy Short says, tension is an essential ingredient when it come to learning through inquiry!
So as we experience tension and uncertainty, it’s good to remember our students can be exposed to this kind of experience every day in a multitude of ways. If we are honest, many of our students’ experiences are transmitted through adult beliefs & opinions, personalities and moods that manifest themselves through our organisational cultures.
It is therefore important to reassure ourselves that if we are sincere, open and to some degree humble, we can all start to make small inroads to nudging our school cultures in the right direction. Through honouring student curiosity, creativity and believing in agency we will slowly begin to influence those around us who we work with – through a sustained ripple you can shake a movement.
We are not all at that same point in our journey and neither can we all dive head first into personalised learning. Essentially, we don’t all have the same depth of experience, employ highly trained and experienced PYP teachers or, work in highly inquiry driven schools that are well resourced.
However, if we believe in student learning and are motivated to act; we can all make small shifts into improving our schools’ toward empowering learners.
If you don’t believe this is possible, take heart from the quote in the photo… This is an exit card written by a refugee teacher at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya… I was privileged enough last year to spend a week training refugee teachers in child centred pedagogy and practices. If they can “make a shift” with classes of 70 students and over, small classroom spaces and, 90+ degrees of heat to contend with. Perseverance for us should be relatively easy 🙂