In the LAS edge Program, students focus primarily on the process of learning. Specifically, they focus on learning to own the process of learning themselves. We call this student agency. Imagine these two scenarios to understand why we think it is necessary to focus on student agency:
1. A group of 6-year olds decide "to play school," in any country in the world. Think about how they start to play. What happens?
2. Students enter a classroom, again in any country in the world. Think about what they do as they come into the room and the class hour starts. What happens?
At least with the groups of students and educators I've worked with, the universal answers to these two scenarios is:
1. One child stands up to be the teacher and commands the other students to sit down and be quiet.
2. The students come into the classroom and wait for the teacher to tell them what to do.
The student agency that we are promoting in the LAS edge Program counteracts these impulses. We believe command and control models of teaching are outdated and shortsighted. We believe that it is possible to construct teaching and learning in such a way that students are not dependent on the teacher. We believe that standing shoulder to shoulder with our students, physically and metaphorically, is preferred to facing off with them. And we are being very intentional in the LAS edge Program to give students time to practice agency, because students learn what students practice.
We would be very happy to hear your thoughts. Share them with Research Director Paul Magnuson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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