Learning that promotes student agency and active, cognitive student engagement has a positive impact on students’ self-efficacy, learning, and achievement. When designing lessons that foster student agency and active engagement, educators must consider multiple variables, including the space where learning will take place. In order to understand how students perceive the impact of spaces in learning and how designed areas are being used by teachers, a qualitative study was conducted at a newly designed energy industry-focused high school. This manuscript presents the students' perspectives related to student agency, the value of learning, students' role in their learning, and how cognitively challenging lessons influence their engagement in learning. The authors argue that the teachers’ instructional decisions and their use of purposefully designed spaces have an impact on students’ engagement and their ownership of learning.

Date of publication

Summer 6-10-2020



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