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Understanding the importance of motivating student agency!

Learning should not be something imposed at school. When this happens, children and adolescents end up not having much pleasure in this journey and do not become active in learning. And that makes all the difference in the formation of active and curious citizens interested in making a difference in society.

The school period not only prepares for the entrance exam or a profession but also a global education. That is why it is so important to work with the agency so that the student becomes primarily responsible for their learning.

More than memorizing facts, dates, or formulas, the important thing is to learn and understand them. That’s because our brain works with associations: for information to remain in memory, there must be a connection with something significant in our life.

In this article, we will explain why being an agent of the learning process is unique baggage that makes a difference for a lifetime, and how a school and parents can facilitate this path.

Why encourage student agency?

When you encourage learners’ agency along with different values like tolerance, they come to understand that other people also have a valid opinion, even with their differences. This is one of the principles of the International Baccalaureate (IB), which works on the development of young researchers who are curious, well-informed, and, above all, supportive, as they help to create a better world based on the understanding and appreciation of diversity.

In this way, IB teachers work on different characteristics of students during classes so that these children and young people become more participants during the learning journey. The IB has the following characteristics as the profile to be developed in the student:

  • inquirer
  • knowledgeable
  • thinker
  • communicator
  • principled
  • open-minded
  • caring
  • risk-taker
  • well-balanced
  • reflective

When these characteristics are worked on daily, the learning ends up being broader, which allows students to become their masters. They do not receive information, but seek it with the help of teachers. The gains from such an education last a lifetime – and we’ll talk about them next.

The benefits of stimulating student agency

By providing a holistic and high-quality international education – possibilities that the International Baccalaureate offers – it is possible to go far beyond the content of the classes – which are also learned in depth. Understand the benefits of making the student an agent of their learning.

Continuous and enjoyable learning

The idea is not that teachers deliver content to students as having all wisdom, but that they are guides, leading-learners to question and seek knowledge. We are talking about open-minded, and flexible professionals who value “let’s find out together”.

From the moment they start asking more and more questions, the taste for learning is awakened, there is enthusiasm in the process and this has no time limit to last, as it accompanies young people throughout their trajectory. 

In practice, they become people who go after answers and don’t accept a simple “no” on the journey. With this thirst for learning, they can become the kind of citizens who will make the world a less polluted and more equitable place. That’s because they stop accepting a simple answer like “because yes”.

Responsibility and autonomy

One of the points of the International Baccalaureate in terms of agency for learners is to allow them to actively participate and contribute to the school and its community, whether local or global. That is, they become aware of the responsibility of each of their actions and begin to reflect on the impact of what they do.

At the same time, they develop autonomy to make their choices, since they have a greater collection of information, reflect more, and can act safely in each step chosen (by themselves!).

Increase in creativity

Since children and teenagers are not given the information but are instead encouraged to seek knowledge, think and ask more, creativity becomes a bonus on this journey.

Attitude towards problems

Being an agent of your learning is a great way to become active in your problems. This means that these young people seek to resolve and find several possibilities for action, instead of complaining or being passive in the face of the situation.

Parents can help with this process

As for the family, it is essential that parents are excited about their children’s learning and not do everything for them. Thus, they can allow them to learn from their mistakes. Teaching them to explore what they don’t know also helps a lot in this routine, always encouraging them to be curious.

Also, show children how to verify information so they understand that not everything they read on the internet is right or is a sign that they are learning from it. That is, encourage them to always question.

The role of the school in this incentive

Just as the family needs to encourage their children to be more active, school is another important source of this learning.

St. Nicholas School understands this role very clearly and offers children the possibility to make many choices, both in their daily lives and in their area of interest. In this sense, reflection on the consequences of one’s actions and dialogue are inherent parts of learning.

The school also works on independence, autonomy, and expectations. So, from an early age, students know what they need for activity and where to find everything in the classroom. They also understand what is expected of them and that it is an option to meet those expectations or not.

Having teachers prepared for this more holistic education makes all the difference and, therefore, St. Nicholas offers continuing education and the International Baccalaureate itself. In this way, teaching makes them become agents of their development, understanding what their own goals are and what they need to do to achieve them.

It is interesting to prepare children for the world from the beginning so that they are active and responsible citizens. To find out more about what St. Nicholas does in this regard, contact us!

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