The relationship between education and learning and its consequences for dialogic pedagogy

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Eugene Matusov


Education is often viewed as formalized learning. I argue that the relationship between education and formalized learning is more complex and profound. In this conceptual essay, I examine the relationship between education and learning. Specifically, I discuss the cases when learning is not education and education is not learning. I argue that learning becomes educational when the person, the learner themselves, appreciates their learning. When learning is not appreciated by the learner, it does not constitute that person’s education. Thus, education is an ephemeral subjective construct, prone to appear and disappear as the person’s attitude to their learning changes. Also, education can be non-learning-based when it involves insights – abrupt, discontinuous changes of the person’s subjectivity – which are not caused by and rooted in the person’s experiences. Like learning, for an insight to be educational, it has to be perceived and appreciated by the person. I argue that human life consists of the flow of learning and insight. Noticing learning and insight by the person involves discontinuity of the person’s subjectivity, participation in activities, and other people that is recognized by others and the person. I discuss diverse forms of the person’s appreciation of learning and insights that constitute education. These forms vary from the behaviorist appreciation, as its lowest form, to the critical appreciation through critical dialogue as its highest form. Finally, I consider the consequences of defining education through a person’s appreciation of the transformation of their subjectivity for dialogic pedagogy.

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How to Cite
Matusov, E. (2021). The relationship between education and learning and its consequences for dialogic pedagogy. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 9, E1-E19.
Author Biography

Eugene Matusov, School of Education, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, United States

Professor of Education
School of Education
University of Delaware


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