Posted on: October 26, 2015

November VFF Speaker Daniel Ginsberg to Address Student Agency

November VFF Speaker Daniel Ginsberg to Address Student Agency

Daniel Ginsberg with a talk on Promoting Student Agency Beyond Techniques and Best Practices.

We welcome you to join us at Virginia International University for our Voices from the Field speaker series!  To RSVP, please complete our simple form here:

Our guest speaker, Daniel Ginsberg, will be giving a talk titled “Promoting Student Agency Beyond Techniques and Best Practices.”

  • Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015
  • Time: 3:30pm-4:30 pm
  • Location: Village Drive Room 101, 4401 Village Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Active class participation helps students communicate and clarify their thinking, explore new ideas, and build classroom community, as well as supporting academic language development. Too often, however, students fixate on getting the right answer, leading them to speak up only hesitantly. When they do, they often provide minimal responses that give little sense of their thinking and offer little opportunity to engage in complex academic discourse. So, how can teachers encourage a genuine sharing of ideas?

Daniel Ginsberg explores this question by examining video recordings of a middle school mathematics class for English learners in which the teacher knows both mathematics and language pedagogy and uses commonly accepted best practices for content-language integrated instruction. Students participate willingly, but still defer to the teacher rather than discussing and advocating for their ideas. Ginsberg argues that, while technique does bring students to participate, we can only foster complex discussions by promoting student agency, which requires us to de-center our own authority to make space for student engagement.

Daniel Ginsberg is a PhD in Linguistics candidate at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

To learn more about participating in Voices from the Field, please contact Kevin Martin (Director of the School of Education) at, follow us on social media @SEDatVIU and @TESOLVIU, or visit the School of Education’s website at!  For information on our upcoming sessions, click here.  Many of our previous sessions are recorded and made available through our website here.

Registration for the event is requested.