The three main areas of the Enhanced PYP are: The Learner, Learning & Teaching and the Learning Community.
Agency is at the centre of the Enhancements, but what is Agency and how does this translate into inquiry teaching and learning in the classroom?

We all have Agency, the capacity to act intentionally. Recognising and supporting agency creates a culture of mutual respect, acknowledging the rights and responsibilities of students, schools and the wider community, enabling students to take ownership of their learning and teachers of their teaching.

Learner agency can be remembered as ‘voice, choice and ownership”. The idea of agency is closely connected to self-efficacy, a belief in one’s own ability to succeed. When learners believe in themselves and have a strong sense of identity, they are more likely to exercise agency.

When students are agentive, they:
  • Take initiative, responsibility & ownership
  • Express interest
  • Make choices
  • Are aware of their own learning goals
  • Monitor and adjust their learning
  • Voice opinions
  • Influence and direct their own learning
  • Develop approaches to learning & dispositions

They also work collaboratively with teachers to:
  • Make decisions together
  • Create shared agreements
  • Create shared routines
  • Set up learning spaces
  • Reflect together

It is important to recognize that teachers cannot give learners agency, but rather they can create opportunities in which learners can exercise agency. They can do this by:
  • Working in partnership, building relationships
  • Actively listening
  • Respecting and responding to learner ideas
  • Noticing learners’ capabilities, needs and interests
  • Reflecting on when students need help, intervening & giving feedback
  • Establishing a welcoming culture
  • Modelling desired behaviour and language


In the school year of 2021/22 as we continue to extend our inquiry pedagogical practices, we are committed to ensuring our classrooms centre learning and teaching around learner voice, choice and ownership. If you walk into a PYP classroom that is dedicated and focused on giving students the chance to exercise learner agency, you will see:

  • Students and teachers collaboratively creating learning engagements and assessments.
  • Students setting learning goals and monitoring progress.
  • Students fostering their own belief in themselves and their own ability to succeed.
  • Students being active, engaged participants in thinking and learning.