"Spoilsport" in Drama in Education vs. Dialogic Pedagogy

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Ana Marjanovic-Shane


In this paper I compare and contrast two educational paradigms that both attempt to overcome alienation often experienced by students in the conventional education. These two educational paradigms are embodied in different educational practices: First, Drama in Education in its widest definition, is based on the Vygotskian views that human cognitive, semantic (meaning-making), and social-emotional development happens in or through play and/or imagination, thus within the imagined worlds. Second, Critical Ontological Dialogic Pedagogy, is based in the Bakhtin inspired approach to critical dialogue among the “consciousnesses of equal rights” (Bakhtin, 1999), where education is assumed to be a practice of examination of the world, the others and the self. I reveal implicit and explicit conceptual similarities and differences between these two educational paradigms regarding their understanding the nature of learning; social values that they promote; the group dynamics, social relationships and the position of learners’ subjectivity. I aim to uncover the role and legitimacy of the learners’ disagreement with the positions of others, their dissensus with the educational events and settings, and the relationships of power within the social organization of educational communities in these two diverse educational approaches. I explore the legitimacy of dissensus in these two educational approaches regarding both the participants’ critical examination of the curriculum, and in regard to promoting the participants’ agency and its transformations. In spite of important similarities between the educational practices arranged by these two paradigms, the analysis of their differences points to the paradigmatically opposing views on human development, learning and education. Although both Drama in Education and Dialogic Pedagogy claim to deeply, fully and ontologically engage the learners in the process of education, they do it for different purposes and with diametrically opposite ways of treating the students and their relationship to the world, each other and their own developing selves.

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How to Cite
Marjanovic-Shane, A. (2016). "Spoilsport" in Drama in Education vs. Dialogic Pedagogy. Dialogic Pedagogy: A Journal for Studies of Dialogic Education, 4. https://doi.org/10.5195/dpj.2016.151
Author Biography

Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Chestnut Hill College

Ana Marjanovic-Shane is an Associate professor of Education at Chestnut Hill College. She was born in Yugoslavia where she studied psychology, development and linguistics. She greaduated at the University of Pennsylvania in  “Interdisciplinary human development”, with a special focus on the role of play and imagination in the meaning making processes. Her recent scolarly focus are dialogic relationships and meaning making in education. She is engaged in developing, practicing and studying dialogic pedagogy and democratic education.