Empowering Students: 3 Ways To Develop Student Agency



Empowering Students: 3 Ways To Develop Student Agency

Every school is interested in academic outcomes, but few are willing to equip students with a genuine sense of student agency along the way. 

Our delivery of the IB is grounded in student agency. Students' contributions frame how we construct our curriculum. This includes the formation of their own clubs and explorations, venturing outside of the classroom to fulfil their passions in the community, and informing recruitment. Student voice is built into the design of our school, capping the number of our classrooms to sixteen students which allows for stronger connection between staff and students, as well as offering shared, adaptable spaces, which encourages creativity, inspiration, and connection with staff. 

However, fostering student agency is also about supporting students to help overcome social and emotional challenges. To help define this, we asked our wellbeing lead, Nito Harvey, to share three fundamental parts of our programme at Halcyon. 

Cognitive Coaching

Students engage in personalised one-on-one cognitive coaching sessions with their mentors, designed to empower them with the skills necessary for the development of their cognitive abilities. These sessions specifically target the enhancement of cognitive processes, including critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and learning. This tailored approach seamlessly aligns with the principles of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). Each week, students will have the opportunity to have a 15-20 mins  coaching conversation with their mentors. Outside of these designated hours, students have access to their mentors at any given time and can request a coaching conversation. 

Restorative Practices

Our comprehensive school-wide restorative approach has become ingrained in the fabric of our community, embodying a way of life for all. We cultivate a secure environment that fosters conversations aimed at fostering reconciliation, accountability, and reflection. This commitment is upheld through the thorough training of every staff member in restorative practices, ensuring that all students are well-acquainted with the process. As a result, students actively seek restorative conversations as a means to address and resolve conflicts. It is imperative that we have the support of our parents, they too have been exposed to the restorative process and have been encouraged to practice this at home.

Service in our community

At Halcyon, we firmly believe in the inherent value each student brings to our community. Recognising their potential contributions, we provide diverse opportunities for students to actively engage in community service. At the core of student representation is our dynamic student council, which plays a pivotal role in orchestrating assemblies, staff development workshops, whole-school mentoring activities, and special events like International Night.

Moreover, students actively participate in key decision-making processes, meeting with the Senior leadership team on a regular basis and leading staff curriculum workshops. We aspire to empower students to wield their voices responsibly, fostering the skills to advocate not only for themselves but also for their peers. Through these initiatives, we cultivate a community where every student's voice is not only heard but also respected and appreciated.