Dialogic education for and from authorial agency

Eugene Matusov, Mark Smith, Elizabeth Soslau, Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Katherine von Duyke

Abstract


In this paper, we extend Bakhtin's ethical philosophical ideas to education and introduce a dialogic authorial agency espoused approach. We then consider this approach in opposition to the mainstream technological espoused approach, while focusing our contrasting analysis on student’s authorial agency and critical dialogue. We argue that the technological approach assumes that the "skills" or "knowledge" are garnered in pursuit of preset curricular endpoints (i.e., curricular standards). Since the goals of the technological approach are divorced from the students’ personal goals, values, and interests, they are incompatible and irreconcilable with what we idealize as the true goal of education, education for agency. 

The authorial agency approach to education (Dialogic Education For and From Authorial Agency) emphasizes the unpredictable, improvisational, eventful, dialogic, personal, relational, transcending, and ontological nature of education. The authorial agency of the student and of the teacher are valued and recognized by all participants as the primary goal of education – supported by the school system and broader society.  The approach defines education as a learner’s leisurely pursuit of critical examination of the self, the life, and the world in critical dialogue. The purpose of authorial agency pedagogy is to facilitate this process by promoting students’ agency and unique critical voices in socially desired practices – critical voices, recognized by the students themselves and others relevant to the particular practice(s). Ultimately, in the authorial education for and from authorial agency, students are led into investigating and testing their ideas and desires, assuming new responsibilities and developing new questions and concerns.

            Finally, we describe and analyze the first author’s partially successful and partially failing attempt to enact a dialogic authorial approach. It will allow the reader to both visualize and problematize a dialogic authorial approach. We will consider a case with a rich “e-paper trail” written by 11 undergraduate, pre-service teacher education students (mostly sophomores), and the instructor (Peter, the first author, pseudonym) in a course on cultural diversity.  The case focuses on the university students (future teachers) and their professor discussing several occasions that involved interactions between Peter and one minority child in an afterschool center. Our research questions in this empirical study were aimed at determining the successes, challenges, and failures of the dialogic authorial pedagogical approach and conditions for them

Keywords


authorial agency, Bakhtin, dialogic pedagogy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/dpj.2016.172

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Copyright (c) 2016 Eugene Matusov, Mark Smith, Elizabeth Soslau, Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Katherine von Duyke

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