Ākonga agency and culturally responsive pedagogy: A community of practice update.

By Judy Bruce

Ākonga agency is a complex concept. This year five schools have journeyed together through a Community of Practice (COP) to explore ākonga agency and culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP). In this article we share key highlights, including a kete with curated resources for school leaders and kaiako keen to learn more.

In partnership with three host schools (Te Uho o te Nikau, Ngākōroa and Onepoto), Tārai Kura is facilitating a COP for schools that are either going through significant redevelopments, or are foundation schools opening in 2023. 

The alignment of a culturally responsive pedagogy and ākonga agency has been the focus of this COP. In the most recent hui, we engaged in a deep dive to understand three key ideas: 

  1. Why is agency important? 
  2. What is agentic learning? 
  3. How can agency be implemented in a culturally responsive way?

Through using the expert jigsaw teaching method, groups unpacked their understanding. We used the following scenario to set the scene.  

Image by: Tārai Kura

Some of the resources we found useful to unpack our understandings are here. 

Why is agency important? 

What is agentic learning? 

How can agency be implemented in a culturally responsive way?

If you were to delve into just one of the resources listed above, we highly recommend the report by Vicky McIntyre on Student Agency

Some of the learning highlights for participants were: 

– an understanding of the importance of developing self efficacy with ākonga (agency is not possible without this) 

– the importance of scaffolding self regulation 

– the alignment between ākonga agency and a culturally responsive pedagogy.

Here is a link to a full list of resources. 

The value of communities of practice is the opportunity to share knowledge and learn together. Throughout the year each school is engaged in an inquiry and there are coaching sessions from Tārai Kura Ringa Whao between the four workshops (one a term). Here one participant shares the value: 

In the day-to-day of school life, we don’t often find time for mindful/purposeful reflection in these areas. This COP has allowed me to think about creating opportunities within whānau meetings to discuss student agency and CRP and reflect on where we are at and what we could do to continue on our journey.

If you would like to learn more, and if you are interested in taking part in a Community of Practice in 2024, let us know by emailing: c.marino@evaluate.co.nz.