Saturday, February 18, 2017

Learner Agency at Silverdale Normal School

The link (above) highlights the importance of learner agency for our learners futures.  Learner agency, simply defined as learners having 'control' of their learning.

At Silverdale Normal School there are many threads that, when woven together empower students to take charge of their learning (and lives).

Our SNS Learner Dimensions
The four categories and 16 dimensions of the SNS Learner were created by our community based on what we believe our students will need for success in their futures.  An example of this is inherent in our 'Taking Charge' category.  We believe that:
-Learners need opportunities to discover their talents, passions, interests and strengths.  We believe this can be a life changing event.
-Learners need to know how to turn dreams into realities.  Learning how to set SMART goals and being given support to reach them creates positive lifelong habits.  We provide many opportunities for guests from a range of fields to come and spend time with our learners to share their stories.

Our Key Concepts and Learning Model
Our conceptual curriculum has been designed thoughtfully to give our learners the opportunity to be exposed to key concepts that our community believe will be essential to understand.  This conceptual framework includes globalisation, citizenship, sustainability, hauora and enterprise.  Our learners are exposed to these concepts in spirals that increase in complexity as students grow.  Our learning model of Explore, Understand and Apply recognises that learning needs to be authentic and relevant to the lives of our learners. There should be no need to ask 'Why are we doing this?!'

Our Pathways
At Silverdale Normal School we have developed Academic, Sporting, Cultural and Service pathways for our learners.  This gives our students the opportunity to find their strengths, talents and interests.  An example of this is the opportunities that our Mandarin Language Assistant provides our learners teaching them Chinese culture and language.  Whilst we don't believe our children will become fluent in the language, it may light a spark for future years in their schooling at Berkley and Hillcrest High.

NZer that have made a positive difference
Each of our rooms is named after a NZer that our community has identified as 'Making a Positive Difference'.  We regularly talk about these people and the dispositions that they have displayed in their lives.  These provide some amazing models for our learners.

Our Values
Watch this space!  Community consultation is underway about how Silverdale Normal School can be the 'dream school' for it's learners.

I believe that learner agency is more than a statement or a sign that promotes lifelong learning at the school.  These threads, when woven together empower our learners to 'take charge' of their learning and therefore an element of 'agency' with their learning.

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