Intentionality is key to creating a classroom culture that is community-centered and responsive to the stakeholders (students and teachers) who are a part of the classroom community. So everything that we do in our community needs to have a deeper purpose. Our call-and-response routine to get the whole community’s attention is Ago! Amé! Ago, pronounced ahh-GO, means ‘Are you listening?’ or simply ‘Attention!’ The response, amé is pronounced ahh-MAY and translates to ‘I am listening.’ or ‘You have my full attention.‘
This call and response comes from the Twi language of West Africa, most notably spoken in Ghana, Togo and the Ivory Coast and has been used to gather the attention of community member for centuries. We use this call and response in our classroom community because it is important to be mindful of what we say and respectful towards other when they are speaking. When I or a student in the class says “Ago!” we are asking for the undivided attention of everyone around us because we have something important to share. The response, “Amé!” should be given with open ears and open minds to actively listen to the speaker. This is how we show respect in our classroom community.
Teaching Malcolm X: Popular Culture and Literacy edited by Theresa Perry