Engaging Children in Dialogic Classroom Talk: Does It Contribute to a Dialogical Self?

Chiel van der Veen*, Marjolein Dobber, Bert van Oers

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this chapter, we aim to show how dialogic classroom talk in early childhood classrooms might contribute to the development of a dialogical self that is capable of dealing with diversity. Reasoning from Vygotsky’s cultural-historical activity theory and Dialogical Self Theory, we will argue that dialogic classroom talk gives children creative spaces of reflection in which different voiced positions can meet, be negotiated, and may become part of a multi-voiced self. Next, we will give an exposition of our research project in which we developed an intervention – the MODEL2TALK intervention – that supports teachers in making their classroom interaction more dialogic. Examples from classrooms that participated in our study show that inducting children into dialogic classroom talk contributes to the development of their communicative and dialogical capacities. Based on the results of our research, we believe dialogic classroom talk to be a fruitful setting in which children are encouraged to meet and explore others’ positions and reflect on their own positions at the same time.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe dialogical self theory in education: A Multicultural perspective
EditorsF. Meijers, H. Hermans
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319628615
ISBN (Print)9783319628608
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Publication series

NameCultural Psychology of Education
ISSN (Print)2364-6780
ISSN (Electronic)2364-6799


  • cultural-historical activity theory
  • Dialogic classroom talk
  • dialogical capacity
  • dialogical self theory
  • early childhood education


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