1. What role does school play in building students’ agency and identity?
Our school is big on student agency. Agency is one of our school five “Schoolwide Learning Outcomes,” in addition to written communication, oral communication, collaboration, and knowledge & thinking. Regarding identity, every student is required to build their own professional portfolio of their best work over their four years of high school. In this way they slowly assemble a picture of their academic/professional self.
2. How aware are you and your colleagues of the impact our choice of words have on developing students’ agency and identity? Can you give examples? Our school is quite aware, as we literally post choice words up in every classroom. It relates to our schoolwide learning goal of collaboration, and we have posters of sentence starters in every room, to give students effective strategies when it comes to working with one another in groups.
3. What would you do, if anything, to make using choice words a more conscious and accountable school wide practice if you were the school leader? I might conduct a staff meeting to collaborate on deciding which choice words we want to see and use more around our campus. After deciding on two or three, we would then brainstorm the best ways to market these choice words to the students, and effectively incorporate them into our school culture.
4. What could you do, if anything, to make the use of choice words a more conscious and accountable personal practice as well as one embraced by others on your site? Are those things within your sphere of influence? I already have the most important choice words for my history class (“Support your claims with evidence!”) made into a poster, and placed front and center in my classroom. I might now consider adding a second poster of choice words. That first poster is now several years old, and I will think of a newer phrase to immortalize alongside it on the wall!
5. Commit to 5 things you are willing to do this semester that will make your school choose words wisely?