Inviting altruistic agency among students

Agency is normally understood as the capacity to act, to have a degree of self-determination and control over one’s self and the world. Altruistic agency is being able to act so that others might themselves have more agency and better chances to be self-determined even though it might mean we have less. While teachers seem to have such altruistic agency to varying degrees (as they attempt to agentize their students with knowledge and understandings that can change the world), it can also be stimulated in students themselves in such a way that they help each other learn more effectively. I will be looking at activities to encourage students to be more helpful to each other so they can learn in a more dynamic environment and be resources for each other in many ways. I will also look at external media and how it might also be used to create more altruistic agency. Angeles Arrien said, “I think the human spirit always wants to make a contribution. And I don’t think there are enough invitations” (Briskin et al, 2009:156). So how can our classes and teaching be more invitational?

Tagged as 2010-2014 language-teaching