Agency By Design – new book available

photo credit: Vanessa Loring/Pexels

  I’m really excited to be able to announce in this post the release of our new book – “Agency by Design: An Educator’s Playbook!”, written in collaboration with a group of US educator friends, and available free to download from the Aurora Institute website.

This newly released “Playbook” will help you transform your classroom from a traditional classroom to an agency-focused, energized place of learning! Learn about the conditions that you can create to promote agentic learning behaviors, and explore the many resources available to you as you provide your students with the guidance and practice they need to develop agentic skills and disposition to be more effective learners. 

This book is a call to action, providing the tools, strategies and user friendly rubrics to guide you as you unlock the potential of your students, as they embrace their personal ownership of learning. This resource is a mix of the theoretical with the practical steps taken from lived experiences from educators, who, like you, desire more for their students in their learning experience. 

Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of working alongside a number of educators and district administrators in NorthWest Arkansas, several of whom travelled to New Zealand to visit schools here and observe the ways in which educators here were designing and implementing classroom and school approaches that promote learner agency. Since then I have continued to support them, visiting their schools on a number of occasions and working with them virtually on a regular basis as they have worked to introduce these ways of thinking into their schools and classrooms.

This book is the product of that work, capturing the essence of the thinking and areas of change that were the focus of attention for these educators. Essential components found within the Playbook are explicitly defined support-systems in terms of the rationale (the why), a deeper look at what agentic behavior looks like when the teacher creates the conditions for agentic behaviors and the characteristics seen in students when they become more agentic in their behaviors. Importantly, opportunities are included for you to reflect on the text and access rubrics for benchmarking and planning.

The Playbook builds on the familiar elements of teaching and learning as a springboard for shifting toward a more agentic classroom. Fourteen elements as presented are divided into two sections: the “Conditions” created by the teacher that allow agentic behaviors to take root and the “Characteristics” found when students are exhibiting more agentic behaviour. These are illustrated in the image below which forms the framework for the book chapters:

Here’s what lies in store for you inside each chapter of the Playbook: 

  1. Why Is This Important? The “why” of what we are doing is essential if we are to sustain our efforts through the change process.
  2. Dig Deeper: The authors want you to clearly understand what is being presented as an element of agency. The Dig Deeper sections offer further in-depth understanding of the condition or the characteristic.
  3. Teacher/Student Chart: Agentic behaviors are fostered when…These charts are useful tools for looking specifically at what the teacher and the student should exhibit when agentic behaviors are occurring.
  4. Insights From Practice: Sharing others’ experiences can be extremely useful. In this section, you can get an insider’s understanding of lessons learned and real-world implementation experiences.
  5. Invitation to Act: This is the catalyst. The questions are intended to prompt opportunities to build on current conditions in the classroom as well as address areas that may not yet be present.
  6. Notes: Each section contains notations that can serve as examples or ways a teacher might approach implementation. These are not all inclusive and are only to be used as samples.
  7. Measuring Progress: A rubric is attached to the conditions and the characteristics. This can be a helpful tool to observe and then track the concrete shifts in classroom practice that are occurring.
  8. Resource Ideas: This provides quick access to the resources that can support the specific condition or characteristic being studied.

As an added benefit, you can download each of the 14 chapters listed below separately from the landing page on the Aurora Institute Website. Each chapter provides a self-contained focus of activities and ideas that can be used as the focus of professional learning activity in your school or district. The book is designed to be used as a playbook, allowing you to annotate and add your own notes and reflections as you work through it.

Download the Agency By Design: An Educator’s Handbook from the Aurora Website now.

If finding our more about how you can create a more agentic learning environment in your school or classroom is something you’d like help with please don’t hestitate to contact me –

You can also find more resources to help you on the Learner Agency page on the FutureMakers website.

One thought on “Agency By Design – new book available

  1. Brilliant resource Derek. I will ensure the principals I work with are aware of the resource and download a copy. Very timely!

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