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Dialogic learning

As the name suggests, dialogic learning is learning that takes place through dialogue. Usually, it is a result of dialogues with valid arguments from different people, based on the validity of the arguments, not on power claims (Kincheloe, Joe L., Horn, Raymond A., 2007. p. 552). In other words, we are learning while talking to other people, discussing and giving meaningful arguments. This concept is very similar to Socratic dialogues in Ancient Greece but can be also found in many other traditions e.g. Indian and Buddhism. Several theories about dialogical learning exist.
      1. Dialogic inquiry

Gordon Wells (1999) defines dialogic inquiry as a medium among an individual and the society. Through interactions, while questioning others, one acquires answers, solutions and knowledge. Wells believes that while dialogic inquiry helps with knowledge, it also allows for reactions to new social situations. (p. 121)
      1. Dialogic action

Believing that human nature is dialogic, Paulo Freire (1970) states that people are creating and recreating themselves through dialogue, leaving communication with a leading role in life. He further claims that educators should create conditions which shall arouse the will for learning. In his theory, the actions are divided to dialogic, which promote liberation and understanding, and non-dialogic, which deny dialogue and communication.
      1. Communicative action

Jurgen Habermas’ theory (1984) is about rationality and the terms ‘argument’ and ‘argumentation’. Arguments are part validity claims and part reasons for why they can be questioned whereas argumentation is a type of speech, where the questioned validity claims are further developed or denied. Now, while saying something is valid according to us, we may either try to apply power to claim to be correct or attempt to enter a dialogue with other people’s arguments, which may eventually lead us to reconsider our statement. In power claims, the argument of force is applied; in validity claims, the force of arguments prevails. According to Habermas, validity claims are the basis of dialogical learning.
      1. Dialogic imagination

As already mentioned earlier, Bahktin (1981) believes that an individual cannot exist outside of a dialogue and that all what was said in the past is going to be used again in some later conversation with amplified and slightly changed meaning. In other words, if we are referring to some earlier experience, we are actually retelling dialogues we have already had with others, using the same or similar expressions. Bahktin states that individual speech cannot stand on its own from a collective one and that past speech is linked to the present one and just as to the future. (p. 221)
      1. Dialogic interactions versus power interactions

The newest theory (Soler, 2004) comes with a claim that two interactions can be distinguished; dialogic interactions and power interactions. This theory criticizes Habermas’ validity claims because when, for example an employee is invited for a coffee by an employer, the employee can then be persuaded to accept as he is then placed into a subordinate position. Power interactions as thus are superior to dialogic interactions, which should be presenting equality and understanding among speakers, regardless of their social status or power status of the speaker (p. 157). To conclude, the main goal of the theory is to point out that dialogical interactions are much more efficient in regards to learning than power interactions.

  1. Narratives

A narrative or a story may be any report of events, be it real or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken language (Narrative, n.d.). The word itself is derived from the Latin verb narrare which means “to tell”. Narration can be organized into a variety of categories, either thematic or formal: non- fiction (poetry, journalism, non- fiction), fictionalization of historical events (myths, legends) and fiction proper (literature in prose, certain poetry, novels and songs) (Narrate, n.d.).

Narrative is found in all forms of human creativity, be it art, speech, literature, theatre, music and even gameplay, as long as the sequence of events is presented, with oral storytelling being supposedly the oldest method of sharing stories. Telling a thoughtfully composed story has a number of aesthetic elements, such as narrative structure, coherent plots, different voice interacting and psychological elements.

    1. Types of narrators and their modes

Choosing the right way of narrating might be crucial for the story and its perception by the reader/listener/player. The two major narratives are first-person and third-person narratives. According to French literary theorist Gerárd Genette (1980), these can further be divided into intradiegetic and extradiegetic narratives. There are two types of intradiegetic narrators: a homodiegetic and a heterodiegetic. The first one is a character, who participates in the story and as that cannot know more about other characters than what they reveal about themselves. A heterodiegic, on the other hand, does not participate in the story and merely describes the experiences of others.

Nevertheless, most narrators still present their story from one of the following perspectives, or narration modes: first-person, or third-person, limited or omniscient. First-person narration is seen from the character’s or narrator’s eyes and generally brings more feelings and opinions. It focuses on the characters and perception of how the others view the world. The alternative would then be a third-person limited narrator, who does not have to reveal all the information a first-person character might know. The main difference between limited and omniscient third person would be the fact that the latter gives a kind of panoramic view; a broader view on the whole world. They can also be a guide, an animal, an object, or even an abstract narrator. However, third-person narrator may also be the protagonist, who is referring to himself.

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