Disengagement, Pedagogical Eros and (the undoing of?) Dialogic pedagogy

James Cresswell


Dialogic pedagogy is an approach to education influenced by Bakhtin, Freire, and others. It is an approach that is critical of conventional education, which tends to be didactic and alienating to students. Student engagement is made central as dialogue takes priority over standardization and core cannons of content. Dialogic pedagogy also emphasizes the importance of communities of learners where teachers are co-learners along with students as all parties work on problems together. I seek to raise challenges to Dialogic Pedagogy and these come from scholars working on the “conduct of everyday life” and from Charles Taylor’s notion of “strong evaluations”. The conduct of everyday life involves a focus on first-person subjectivities with an eye to their constitution in social and power relations. Strong evaluations enhance this discussion by addressing how people can engage in decisions that involve weighing options about the qualitative kind of person one is. I outline how education involves a conduct of everyday life where strong evaluations are promoted. Taking such an approach to education grounds two challenges to dialogic pedagogy. One challenge is that students are reticent to engage in strong evaluations and the modern identity is one disposed to disengagement. The converse challenge is that student engagement entails pedagogical eros, which is easily converted into power and abuse by a pedagogue.


dialogic pedagogy; Charles Taylor; conduct of everyday life; pedagogical eros; strong evaluations

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/dpj.2016.182


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