Dialogic classroom talk and the dialogical self

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


When one observes a classroom conversation in a typical classroom, one will probably notice that the teacher asks the questions, talks more than the children and is mainly focused on the reproduction of cultural meanings. Although, these monologic forms of classroom talk have their importance for the transmission of (cultural) knowledge to successive generations, classroom talk that is merely focused on the reproduction of knowledge does not give room for children’s shared thinking and understanding. Dialogic classroom talk, on the other hand, gives children space to think together and cross the boundaries of their own understandings. Research has shown that dialogic classroom talk is positively related to children’s learning.
In dialogic classroom talk, the dialogue becomes part of the self, and the self becomes part of the dialogue. In this dialectic process, children (and teacher) bring different (sometimes conflicting) socio-cultural I-positions to the fore from which they ‘view’ the topic that is being discussed. These I-positions are negotiated in order to reflect upon one’s own position and understand the position of the other. This is closely related to Vygotsky’s ideas about the internalization of interpersonal dialogue.
In this presentation, we will connect the notion of dialogic classroom talk with the concept of the dialogical self. Using classroom observation, we will show how dialogic classroom talk gives children space to think together. This interpersonal dialogue might become part of the self; a dialogical self that is willing to understand the other and revise his/her understanding in light of new arguments.
Period29 Aug 2017
Event titleISCAR 2017: Taking a 360° view of the landscape of ultural-historical activity research: The state of our scholarship in practice
Event typeConference
LocationQuebec City, CanadaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational