Some Conclusions

Human Agency, Social Action and Classroom Practices:
What happens when teachers move over to allow students to pave their own path towards enacting change?

Vanessa Brown


Some children walk into a classroom ready to be presented a finished agenda. All one need do is point to the path and they commence to walking. This was the case during a large part of my career. When I got on my soapbox to teach or preach as some children called it, about the power of the people to make change in our communities, students would often be overcome by my passion. Connections of literacy and social action were made often and easily.

However, for a large and increasing number of students, this waiting on my agenda was not to become their status quo. They were not developing their own rhythms and strategies, because they were controlled by mine (Calkins, p183) or they spent inordinate amounts of time resisting that control.

...while I continue to value predictability in the classroom, there is now more room for student voice and choice.
So, while I continue to value predictability in the classroom, there is now more room for student voice and choice. There are multiple entry points and opportunities to be acknowledge for establishing and achieving personal milestones and inserting self into self-determination. And, there are new access routes to "create themselves as new subjects" when needed.

Because educators must realize the broad interpretations and manifestations of social agency and action in the classroom, we must revisit over and over gain, how we see our students, describe their work and how we assess it.

This particular work in progress, then, may contribute to the Scholarship of Teaching and learning by:

  • Disrupting the discourse that supports the status quo of trapping children in pre-set boundaries.
  • Enticing the discourse around equitable education.
  • Examining further how leadership, agency and action evolves in teachers and students.
  • Raising critical questions about the implicit and explicit effects of teacher behavior and pedagogy.

We owe these conversations to our children and our children have the inalienable right to expect these conversations to occur with their active participation.