Chapter 9 Strengthening Student Agency, Community, and Trust in Academic Education

A Teaching Approach

In: Building an Academic Community
Anna Sajdak-Burska
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The chapter presents a theoretical perspective that allows for the construction of educational practices that enhance students’ sense of agency, community, and trust. It provides an example of conducting classes with students and presents the results of the study on this practice. The theoretical frameworks are presented: the constructivist-sociocultural paradigm (social models of teaching), a humanistic approach to education, and the experiential learning model based on Kolb’s cycle. The educational practice that was examined is then described. The research aims to answer whether the applied teaching and learning models meet the expectations related to building a learning community based on mutual trust and providing students with opportunities for agency and community. To achieve this, an interpretive research paradigm, an inductive explanatory approach, a qualitative research model, and an action research method were applied. The article presents the results of action research conducted in 48 workshops between 2017 and 2020. The findings demonstrate the intersubjective effectiveness of the implemented teaching solution. They confirm that working with students can contribute to building their sense of agency, community, and trust. The results confirm the success of implementing a specific teaching approach in the context of fostering students’ sense of agency, community, and trust. The discussion of the results is presented in the context of factors that facilitate or hinder the application of the demonstrated teaching models in academic education.

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