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Include Student Passions and Interests

Effective school leaders leverage and create opportunities for students to explore their passions and interests to promote personal and authentic opportunities for learning. These types of opportunities allow students to drive their own learning and thereby drive their own growth. What results is the implementation of a more student-centered learning framework, rather than a teacher-centered instructional framework. By designing student-centered opportunities that leverage students’ passions and interests, school leaders give their charges more control, increasing engagement, motivation, and persistence. Students who exercise control over their own learning become more self-directed, resilient, and confident, and these qualities can have a continued impact on the school culture that promoted agency in the first place. As Derek Wenmoth wrote, “[A]gency is interdependent … It’s not just about a learner in isolation doing their own thing and what suits them. Learners must develop an awareness that there are consequences for the decisions they make and actions they take and will take account of that in the way(s) they exercise their agency in learning.” Schools filled with these kinds of learners—and the educators that guide them—are vibrant learning environments, reflecting the same kinds of qualities that their students possess.