Controversies and consensus in research on dialogic teaching and learning

Main Article Content

Christa S. C. Asterhan
Christine Howe
Adam Lefstein
Eugene Matusov
Alina Reznitskaya


Scholarly interest in dialogic pedagogy and classroom dialogue is multi-disciplinary and draws on a variety of theoretical frameworks. On the positive side, this has produced a rich and varied body of research and evidence. However, in spite of a common interest in educational dialogue and learning through dialogue, cross-disciplinary engagement with each other’s work is rare. Scholarly discussions and publications tend to be clustered in separate communities, each characterized by a particular type of research questions, aspects of dialogue they focus on, type of evidence they bring to bear, and ways in which standards for rigor are constructed. In the present contribution, we asked four leading scholars from different research traditions to react to four provocative statements that were deliberately designed to reveal areas of consensus and disagreement[1]. Topic-wise, the provocations related to theoretical foundations, methodological assumptions, the role of teachers, and issues of inclusion and social class, respectively. We hope that these contributions will stimulate cross- and trans-disciplinary discussions about dialogic pedagogy research and theory.

[1] The authors of this article are five scholars, the dialogic provocateur and the four respondents. The order of appearance of the authors was determined alphabetically.

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How to Cite
Asterhan, C. S. C., Howe, C., Lefstein, A., Matusov, E., & Reznitskaya, A. (2020). Controversies and consensus in research on dialogic teaching and learning. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 8.
Scholarship Beyond Essayistic Texts
Author Biographies

Christa S. C. Asterhan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Christa Asterhan is an Assistant Professor at the Seymour (Shlomo) Fox School of Education of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she also received her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology and heads the Learning & Interaction Lab. In her research, she explores the cognitive and social aspects of human interaction and human communication and how these affect learning. She strongly believes in and promotes a multidisciplinary and multi-method approach to the study of learning through social interaction. Topic-wise, she has conducted research on collaborative learning, classroom dialogue and argumentation, teacher facilitation of learning dialogues, computer-mediated learning interactions, social media and education, conceptual change, and teacher pedagogical reasoning. Together with Lauren Resnick and Sherice Clarke, she edited the 2015 AERA volume Socializing Intelligence through Academic Talk and Dialogue.

Christine Howe, Cambridge University United Kingdom

Christine Howe is Professor of Education (Emerita) at Cambridge University. Her research lies at the intersection of psychology, education, and linguistics, with major interests including children’s communicative, linguistic and peer relational skills, children’s reasoning in science and mathematics, and dialogue and learning during peer collaboration and teacher-led instruction. Christine has received more-or-less continuous funding from the ESRC (the UK’s premier sponsor of social science research) for over 30 years, as well as securing awards from British Academy, Leverhulme, Nuffield, and various governmental and local authority sources. Her most recent ESRC-funded project addressed ‘Classroom dialogue: Does it really make a difference for student learning?’ Christine has published seven books and over 200 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and she has acted as editor for three academic journals while also serving on many editorial boards. She has held strategic appointments at the local, national and international levels relating to research and research training.

Adam Lefstein, Department of Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Adam Lefstein is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, where he conducts research and teaches about pedagogy, classroom interaction, teacher learning and educational change.  He is particularly interested in the intersection between research and professional practice, and how to conduct research that is meaningful, rigorous and helpful for educators.  He co-directs (with Dana Vedder-Weiss) the Laboratory for the Study of Pedagogy, an interdisciplinary research group that investigates Israeli pedagogy, schooling, educational policy and change, and processes of knowledge sharing with practitioners, policy-makers and the public.  His current and recent research includes a study of Israeli culture and primary pedagogy, an investigation of video-based dialogic debrief conversations, a design-based implementation study of teacher leadership and professional discourse, an experimental study of academically productive talk in primary language classrooms and an ethnographic investigation of language, class and classroom participation.

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

Eugene Matusov is a Professor of Education at the University of Delaware. He studied developmental psychology with Soviet researchers working in the Vygotskian paradigm and worked as a schoolteacher before immigrating to the United States. He uses sociocultural and Bakhtinian dialogic approaches to education. His recent books are: Matusov, E. (2017). Nikolai N. Konstantinov’s authorial math pedagogy for people with wings, Matusov, E. & Brobst, J. (2013). Radical experiment in dialogic pedagogy in higher education and its Centauric failure: Chronotopic analysis, and Matusov, E. (2009). Journey into dialogic pedagogy.

Alina Reznitskaya, Montclair State University, USA

Alina Reznitskaya is a Professor at Montclair State University, USA. She received her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois and did her post-doctoral research at Yale University. Alina has acquired expertise in educational psychology, quantitative research methodology, and educational measurement, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on these topics. Alina’s research interests include investigating the role social interaction plays in the development of argument literacy, designing measures of argumentation, and examining professional development efforts that help teachers learn to facilitate argumentation during class discussions. Alina has been awarded research grants by the Spencer Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Dr. Reznitskaya’s work has appeared in a variety of journals and edited books, including Educational Psychologist, The Reading Teacher, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Cambridge Journal of Education, Elementary School Journal, Discourse Processes, Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices, and Positive Psychology in Practice.


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