Anguelina Popova, Zainab Abib and Nadirabegim Zheentaeva
As a teacher, I have always given students the option to choose the topics they would like to explore as a final research project for my courses. I have done this to give them agency over exploring their own research interests, and produce their own content. My usual approach has been to require a method, but give them freedom over choosing the content, and the representation of findings. I am teaching now a new course, and have tried to integrate student-centered learning and agency more than previously.
In this video, I would like to illustrate student agency as experienced by few of my students.
Jääskelä et al. (2017) define student agency as the empowerment to act through personal, relational, and participatory resources, and engagement with learning in an intentional way through meaningful actions. The questions which arise to me are the following: are all students in a class equality prompt to develop agency, when the course requirements and conditions are the same for all; are all course requirements perceived the same way by all; what does it mean for students to learn meaningfully, and intentionally.
In this course, and more specifically in the final research project, students’ learning is not entirely self-directed, as I follow up with them, or at least request to do so, on different stages of their process. They are also not graduate students and have limited experience in conducting independent research. In this reflective video, I would also raise the question of the metacognitive activities and mathemagenic activities students engaged- alone or with me, and their relation with student agency.
Beyond the exploration of the perception of the teacher and the students in the shifting of agency, we would also touch on the topic of availability of open access data and tools. Despite the fact that students are encouraged to use data in their native languages (different from English), they still predominantly use data and research for their literature review, available or written in English language. In our reflection, we will also touch on the question of how to enhance the quality of student research and encourage students to explore their own culture and local research.
P. Jääskelä, A.-M. Poikkeus, K. Vasalampi, U.-M. Valleala, H. Rasku-Puttonen, Assessing agency of university students: Validation of the AUS scale,
Studies in Higher Education, 42 (11) (2017), pp. 2061-2079, doi: 10.1080/03075079.2015.1130693
- mathemagenic activities