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Pedagogisk samexistens: en problematiseringav undervisningsdialogens natur
Kristianstad University, Forskningsmiljön Forskning Relationell Pedagogik (FoRP). Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Pedagogik.
2017 (Swedish)In: Pedagogisk forskning i Sverige, ISSN 1401-6788, E-ISSN 2001-3345, Vol. 3-4, no 22, 233-254 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [sv]

Att pedagogiska relationer har en avgörande roll för undervisning är idag en vedertagen insikt inom pedagogisk forskning. På samma vis är det tämligen accepterat att kommunikation och språkbruk är av central relevans för lärande. Däremot råder inte lika stor enighet kring vilka slag av dialoger som är betydande. Detta bidrag uppehåller sig därför vid frågor om hur mellanmänskliga dialoger kan förstås. Bidragets syfte är att synliggöra, begreppsliggöra och problematisera utbildningsdialogens funktion och natur. I texten diskuterar författarna pedagogiska implikationer av relevans för fältet relationell pedagogik. Mer precist är det relationen mellan lärare och elever som problematiseras med stöd i dialogfilosofi utifrån Mikhail Bakhtin och Martin Buber samt pedagogisk forskning på området. En konceptuell distinktion utvecklas och illustreras med episoder från svenska klassrum: ontologisk vs. instrumentell samexistens. Slutsatsen är att instrumentell pedagogik kan och bör problematiseras med avseende på etik, demokrati och intersubjektivitet.

Summary

 

The current educational discourse in research, pedagogical practice and educational policy documents emphasize the significant role of dialogue (e.g., Sandström, 2012). Moreover, the resistance to individualistic conceptions of pedagogy is nowadays generally more accepted than before. However, what is less explicitly addressed is the kind of dialogue implied and, furthermore, the philosophical nature of the dialogicity at stake. There is a burgeoning international debate of interest for us and our present contribution to relational pedagogy in the Swedish context. It deals productively with the question of which teacher-student relations might be of educational importance, pedagogically as well as ethically.

 

The ongoing discussions also address differentiated understandings of the essential function of dialogue in the classrooms. Roughly, two kinds of opinions are voiced: one that argues that dialogues can and should function as pedagogical tools or methods (i.e., as a didactical means for students’ learning) and one oppositional reaction that points at the unethical instrumentality in such a standardized teacher-approach to dialogic pedagogy (cf. Matusov & Wegerif, 2014). The advocators of the latter opinion rather highlight the implications of what they view as genuine dialogicity and claim, accordingly, that not all kinds of dialogues could be defined as truly dialogical. The question of dialogue as an irreducible human condition or not is raised: is it possible to ascribe the dialogue an own existential value or does the dialogue always have to be reduced as a conversational method? This heated international discussion reflects philosophical influences from Bakhtin’s and Buber’s dialogic approaches. Their ideas of education, respectively, have paved the way for relation-oriented educators to acknowledge the ontological dimension of dialogic being, learning and teaching.

 

This text thus aims to examine the role and nature of interpersonal dialogues in educational classroom settings, that is, teacher-student relations. In addition we provide a conceptual framework that serves the function of problematizing the dialogic nature in institutionalized pedagogical encounters. In doing so, we develop an analytic distinction grounded in dialogue philosophy and educational research from this particular field. For the sake of readability we also illustrate our reasoning with classroom episodes reported from school inspectors; a comprehensive classroom study of Swedish primary schools, focusing especially on democratic issues in teaching and school organization (Skolinspektionen, 2012). Those episodes are treated as demonstrable examples, integrated in a theoretical discussion that concerns distinct relational approaches between teachers and students. Theoretically, we develop our discussion through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin’s and Martin Buber’s dialogue philosophy. Our reasoning is also based on relational and dialogic pedagogy in these respective perspectives. Given this backdrop, the following research questions are: How may pedagogical dialogues be understood and conceptualized? What do different approaches to dialogicity imply in terms of teacher-student relations?

                                         

In our first theoretical section we offer an account for central ideas and principles grounded in Buber’s dialogue philosophy and Bakthin’s dialogism. In doing so we explore and discuss a philosophical commonality of Bakhtin’s and Buber’s dialogic reasoning that brings to bear in educational research (Sidorkin, 1999). The philosophical notion concerns the idea of genuine dialogues, and genuine dialogicity, in contrast to instrumental forms of human communication. It also recognizes the notion of personalized existence embedded in dialogic relations. Hence, we point at educational implications pertinent to the field of relational pedagogy, for example, the didactical problem of trying to take authoritative control over human dialogicity and its intrinsic and unpredictable openness to the other. Of note is also the educational difference in pedagogical dialogues vs. dialogical pedagogy (Skidmore, 2000).

 

On the basis of our prior reasoning and existing educational research, our following section offers another conceptual distinction due to interpersonal encounters, that is, the one of instrumental vs. ontological other-orientation. Thereafter, in the subsequent part, we illustrate our theoretical discussion with empirical extracts from Swedish classrooms (Skolinspektionen, 2012). According to the findings of Skolinspektionen (2012), we conclude that Swedish primary schools demonstrate clear similarities to instrumental other-orientation and, further, what Biesta (2015) conceptualizes as a post-democratic teacher-approach to students. This is also partly in conjunction with von Wright’s (2009) findings in her Swedish school study, due to the type of social interaction that took place. We highlight ethical and democratic problems in such a conventional classroom interaction and finally discuss some educational implications of our theoretical distinction: ontological vs. instrumental co-existence. One conclusion is that genuine dialogicity includes an existential (ontological) dimension of relevance for teaching and learning. It is argued that this dimension needs to be addressed, in contrast to the instrumental conception of the conventional teaching approach to pedagogical relations. When addressing the issue of democracy in concrete pedagogical encounters, we suggest that democracy and student agency are important concerns to further explore in the research field of relational pedagogy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 3-4, no 22, 233-254 p.
Keyword [en]
relational pedagogy, dialogicity, teaching, education, Bakhtin, Buber
Keyword [sv]
Relationell pedagogik, dialogicitet, undervisning, utbildning, Bakhtin, Buber
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-17486OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-17486DiVA: diva2:1149325
Available from: 2017-10-15 Created: 2017-10-15 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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