Welcome, to our blog From Practice to Print. I am Jenn Hayhurst a Literacy Coach working on Long Island NY and it is my pleasure to introduce you to my colleague/ writing partner/ best friend, Jill DeRosa. Jill is an extremely talented Second Grade teacher. We are here to share our thoughts and experiences as we work with students and teachers to advance the concept of agency for all.
The first time I heard the word agency was when my friend Kim, attended a coaching conference at Teacher’s College at Columbia University. She said, “Living environments begin when students have a sense of agency. I thought of you right away Jenn.” Kim thought of me because Jill and I had just written an article for Heinemann’s Digital Campus: Teach Writers Independence with an Interactive Learning Wall and this word agency seemed to describe everything we were working towards. Agency, we rolled that word around and around – Jill and I were hooked. Since then we went on to read quite a bit about agency, one of our favorite definitions came from Peter Johnston.
“Children should leave school with a sense that if they act, and act strategically, they can accomplish their goals. I call this feeling a sense of agency.”Peter Johnston, Choice Words (2004)
We have devoted many years of practice to developing a metacognitive framework to make agency a living presence in the lives of our students through our day-to-day teaching. We have come to understand that agency is more than a strategic move – it is a powerful belief system that energizes learning into tangible change. Agency makes learning actionable meaningful to students and so changes the trajectory of their progress. It helps students to understand their own sense of power in their world:
“We like to describe agency as a state of mind built on a belief system that your actions can and will make an impact.”Jenn Hayhurst & Jill DeRosa