The Agile Classroom: Re-energized Teaching and Student Ownership of Learning | Jessica Cavallaro | 6 Min Read

In an agile classroom, teachers do not dispense information to the whole group. They serve as the guide on each student’s learning pathway. By replacing the teacher as the “Sage on the Stage,” it frees the teacher to work in small groups, meet individual needs, dedicate time to building strong relationships and a classroom culture of trust and love of learning.

To a group of professionals that are already at their wit’s end, this can sound exhausting; however, it is just the opposite in reality.

An agile classroom re-energizes the teacher. There is no classroom management struggle because the students have agency. Agile classrooms do not have repetitive lectures since students own their learning. Students have genuine learning experiences. Questions are authentic and the level of engagement brings an exciting energy to the classroom. They build trust and long-term relationships with one another and the teacher. Each interaction is unique. 

How to Achieve the Agile Classroom

In an agile classroom, students have autonomy and often work in teams. This means that students learn the traditional content but are able to navigate their own learning. Teachers can scaffold this experience by prepping different methods for students to learn content. This is the same content that has always been taught, but now it is presented in a way that students can access on their own. 

Teacher Mini-Lessons and Tutorials

The COVID lockdown necessitated that I record my lectures and instructions. During this time, I used visuals to go over key ideas and necessary important information. Soon I was recording everything: how to format research cards, how to review the essay rubric, how to annotate and create marginal notes, and more.

Creating videos tremendously helped my students. Students that were asleep during the first period could watch the lecture when their brains were awake. Students that needed repetition could watch it several times. Students that struggled with processing issues had constant access to the material. Students that were bored during lectures…didn’t watch it. They learned the content from another source I provided.

Recording instructions was incredibly effective for me as a teacher as well. Instead of repeating directions, students could watch the video, most of which included an example of me modeling the desired skill. Students were able to access the recordings over and over. If they had questions, they were well thought out questions about their individual work. They had…

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Jessica Cavallaro

Jessica Cavallaro is the co-founder of The Agile Mind, which interweaves Agile frameworks into K-12 education. She is passionate about the benefits of project based learning and creating purposeful education to drive innovation through inquiry. She is an advocate for developing systems that give students agency. Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree at Pace University and Master’s in Education from Mercy College.