Dialogic Teaching

The Basics

Dialogic teaching is best defined as the practice of informal conversation between students and teachers in order to stimulate thinking and advance learning and understanding.


A presentation on Robin Alexander and his theories on dialogic pedagogy:

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Lesson Plans & Classroom Resources

Robin Alexander, Dialogic Teaching Essentials
A white paper by Robin Alexander detailing practical guidance for teaching dialogically. Includes a bibliography.

Further Reading

Shor, Ira, and Paolo Friere. 'What is the Dialogical Method of Teaching?' Journal of Education 169.3 (1987), 11-31.

Shor and Freire discuss here the dialogical method of liberatory education. Dialogue is not a mere technique to achieve some cognitive results; dialogue is a means to transform social relations in the classroom, and to raise awareness about relations in society at large. Dialogue is a way to recreate knowledge as well as the way we learn. It is a mutual learning process where the teacher poses critical problems for inquiry. Dialogue rejects narrative lecturing where teacher talk silences and alienates students. In a problem-posing participatory format, the teacher and students transform learning into a collaborative process to illuminate and act on reality. This process is situated in the thought, language, aspirations, and conditions of the students. It is also shaped by the subject matter and training of the teacher, who is simultaneously a classroom researcher, a politician, and an artist.


Stewart, Trevor Thomas. 'A Dialogic Pedagogy: Looking to Mikhail Bakhtin for Alternatives to Standards Period Teaching Practices'. Critical Education 1.6 (2010).

Abstract: Instructional practices in American schools have become increasingly standardized over the last quarter century. This increase in standardization has resulted in a decrease in opportunities for teachers to engage in student-centered instructional practices. This article discusses how the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin can serve as the foundation for educators who are seeking alternatives to standards period teaching practices. A Bakhtinian view of language can be the basis for the creation of a dialogic pedagogy, which can help teachers and students navigate the complexities of teaching and learning in the secondary English classroom. More importantly, perhaps, Bakhtin’s theories can serve as a framework on which educators might build their arguments supporting the implementation of alternatives to standards period skill and drill instructional activities.