Dialogic Teaching and Moral Learning: Self‐critique, Narrativity, Community and ‘Blind Spots’

Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (2):160-176 (2016)


In the current climate of high-stakes testing and performance-based accountability measures, there is a pressing need to reconsider the nature of teaching and what capacities one must develop to be a good teacher. Educational policy experts around the world have pointed out that policies focused disproportionately on student test outcomes can promote teaching practices that are reified and mechanical, and which lead to students developing mere memorisation skills, rather than critical thinking and conceptual understanding. Philosophers of dialogue and dialogic teaching offer a different view of teaching, one that counters mechanical, transmissive or ‘monologic’ teaching. In this paper, I seek to extend the notion of dialogic teaching as a method of supporting social and moral learning processes. Specifically, my focus is on answering the question: What capacities must a teacher have to engage students dialogically? Drawing on Paulo Freire and other contemporary philosophers, I examine dialogic interaction as involving a way of ‘being with learners’ and put forth three teacher capacities necessary for dialogic teaching: self-critique, narrativity and building community. I then examine further what is concretely entailed in the practice of dialogic teaching using research in educational psychology. I aim to highlight how dialogic teaching, unlike monologic teaching, involves the teacher's active ability to support learners’ identification and exploration of their own blind spots—that is, the limits of knowledge and ability—and those of others. Following this, I consider implications of my discussion for international policy on teacher assessment. I close the paper with considerations for future research on teacher capacity and teacher evaluation. This paper contributes to our understanding of teacher capacity and the nature and aims of good teaching.

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Democracy and Education.Addison W. Moore - 1916 - International Journal of Ethics 26 (4):547-550.
A Deweyan Theory of Democratic Listening.Jim Garrison - 1996 - Educational Theory 46 (4):429-451.

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