The uniting theme of these discussions are a strong commitment by all participants to apply the dialogic framework developed by philosopher and literary theoretician Bakhtin to education. In this special issue, Eugene Matusov and Kiyotaka Miyazaki have developed only three of the heated issues discussed at the symposium in a form of dialogic exchanges (dialogue-disagreements). Matusov provides a typology of different conceptual approaches to Dialogic Pedagogy that he had noticed in education: instrumental, epistemological, and ontological. Specifically, Matusov subscribes to ontological dialogic pedagogy arguing that dialogic pedagogy should be built around students’ important existing or emergent life interests, concerns, questions, and needs. He challenged both instrumental dialogic pedagogy that is mostly interested in using dialogic interactional format of instruction to make students effectively arrive at preset curricular endpoints and epistemological dialogic pedagogy that is most interested in production of new knowledge for students. Miyazaki (and other participants) found this typology not to be useful and challenged the values behind it. Miyazaki introduced the third heated topic of treating students as “heroes” of the teacher’s polyphonic pedagogy similar to Dostoevsky’s polyphonic novel based on Bakhtin’s analysis. Matusov took issue with treating students as “heroes” of teacher’s polyphonic pedagogy arguing that in Dialogic Pedagogy students author their own education and their own becoming.
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