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The Search for the Beginnings of Wisdom: Agency, Intentionality and Responsibility in Childhood Olson, David


Webcast sponsored by Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, and hosted by Green College. In searching for explanations of children's behavior—including successes and failures in life and in the school—researchers and policy makers have focused primarily on causal factors whether inside or outside of the child, factors over which the child has no control and hence no responsibility. David Olson’s attempt is to turn the table and explain children's behavior in terms of actions and experiences within a moral framework of responsibility and accountability. As agents of their own actions, children are not only the causes of their behavior but they are also responsible for their behavior. The nature and development of agency in children and the implications of neglecting childhood agency in explanations of learning and development are examined. It is argued that the development of a sense of responsibility is an important step in the gaining of wisdom.

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