This year, I have gradually been giving more and more responsibility and autonomy to the children in my class. We started off small – children were organised into groups who had responsibility for running a fitness session one day a week. From there, we have gradually built up such autonomy and ownership. Children plan their day; tell me when they want to be tested; instigate, organise, attend and run optional meetings; decide how the classroom is going to be arranged and where they will sit; make goals and work on these (mostly) independently; instigate giving and asking for feedback; along with solving problems and improving classroom practice with their ideas alongside me… to name a few examples!
This week, we took this further and the students planned the week with minimal input from me. I time-tabled a few unavoidable activities such as assembly and meetings with the whole syndicate; and the students added in a whole class vocabulary quiz to enhance their vocabularies. This was something they thought they all needed to work on. Then we added in group meetings and talked about what these needed to be focussed on, as well as the kind of follow-up they thought would reinfoce their learning best. The children decided they wanted to get PROBE tested at some point in the week so we factored that in. We then talked about any optional meetings that were focused on things that just a group of children wanted or needed to learn. Suggestions abounded but we selected 6 and filed away the remaining suggestions for future weeks. Following this, the class discussed useful tasks to help their learning, as well as optional tasks that were not necessary for everyone’s learning, but that some children wanted to complete. Our plan was complete!
This is the latest step in children taking more ownership and responsibility for their learning. It has taken lots of scaffolding and a gradual introduction of more and more skills and expectations of the students. I’m really looking forward to seeing how next week pans out, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t as we are doing exactly what the students wanted and indicated they needed.