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It used to be that terms like “Agile” were only used by those who work in the tech world. Now, though, the Agile framework is also starting to make its way into schools.
Classes have already changed in a variety of ways in response to COVID-19. Why not make room for Agile in schools, too?
Read on to learn more about Agile learning and how it works in a classroom setting.
First, let’s get clear on what Agile is.
The term “Agile” describes a unique approach to project management. It’s often used by software development teams because it allows them to work together to meet their customers’ needs faster.
Agile teams break projects down and work in small increments. They regularly evaluate projects’ requirements, plans, and results, too. This gives teams a chance to respond to and make changes quickly and efficiently.
Agile teaching uses the same concepts as those described above. However, it applies them specifically to classroom management and education.
The idea behind Agile (in all it’s forms) is that people don’t get things perfectly right the first time around. Learning is iterative. It requires regular evaluations and adjustments for students (and teachers) to learn and improve.
Once upon a time, the Agile approach to education was the norm. Over time, though, it became more common for teachers to simply lecture while students were passively supposed to sit and absorb information. This teaching methodology is common, but it doesn’t create a positive and productive learning environment for the students.
There are lots of ways that teachers can learn from and utilize the Agile methodology in their classrooms. If you want to make your classroom more Agile, the following are some examples to try:
In an Agile learning environment, teachers and students collaborate. Rather than the teacher standing at the front of the room and lecturing while the students listen and take notes, the teacher communicates with the students and seeks constant feedback.
Teachers can do this by asking questions to find out what the students are learning and where gaps exist in their current knowledge. They’ll then use that feedback to adjust their teaching style and provide their students with a more engaging and enriching experience moving forward.
In the tech world, Agile teams often use “sprints” when completing projects. Sprints are short periods of time during which a team tries to accomplish a specific goal.
Teachers can use this concept in the classroom by breaking the class up into teams, then giving each team a certain amount of time to solve a problem, outline a project, or accomplish another goal.
Sprints give students a chance to accomplish a specific task quickly. This, in turn, allows them to get feedback sooner.
Instead of spending weeks or months working on something before submitting it and getting feedback, their teacher can review the task and help them learn from their mistakes much faster.
“Scrum” is an approach that Agile teams use to break down a project into smaller pieces. When assigning group projects for students, teachers can encourage groups to use scrum to break down the project and monitor progress.
Scrum breaks things down into a variety of categories, such as these:
This approach provides an easy-to-manage visual aid. It helps teams stay motivated and ensure nothing important falls through the cracks.
A learning squad is, basically, a fancy way of saying “team.” Breaking students up into groups of 6-8 gives them a chance to collaborate and work together to accomplish projects.
Each squad should have a coach, or team captain, who is in charge of monitoring progress and keeping everyone on track.
A stand-up is a short, to-the-point meeting between members of a learning squad or team. During this stand-up, each member should answer the following questions:
A major component of Agile is building projects around team members who are highly motivated. One way to increase motivation, especially in the classroom, is through gamification.
Gamification makes learning and completing projects a lot more fun. It also keeps students engaged and excited to learn and work.
When using the Agile framework in the classroom, teachers can award students points for completing tasks, performing well when doing certain jobs, and demonstrating good behaviour (good communication, teamwork, etc.).
Reflection is another important factor in the Agile approach.
Teachers ought to reflect on their teaching style and how much their students are learning. Students who are part of learning squads should reflect on their progress and what they can do to improve, too.
Reflection on an individual level is also essential. Students should have opportunities to consider their work, identify areas in which they can improve, and identify the specific obstacles that are holding them back.
Even the furniture in the classroom can align with the Agile framework.
Agile furniture allows for comfort (how are students supposed to be engaged when they’re uncomfortable while they’re learning?). It’s also easy to move around and adjust, which allows for easier collaboration between students.
By advocating for upgrading furniture in the classroom, teachers can create a more Agile environment. Students who are learning at home can also benefit from this style of furniture and stay comfortable while they’re collaborating with their classmates virtually.
As you can see, there are lots of ways that you can incorporate the Agile framework into the way you run your classroom.
Whether you’re teaching in-person or online, keep these examples of Agile in education in mind to set your students up for long-term success. If you’re also interested in investing in Agile furniture for your students, check out our shop today.