On the conventional education project

“…in the project of conventional education, meaning making is mediated neither by the teacher’s question nor by the students’ questions. It is not mediated by the teacher’s question because the teacher should not have genuine questions about the subject matter with the students. If the teacher does have genuine questions about the taught subject matter (on a systematic basis), he or she is viewed as incompetent. While it is true that people ignorant about some academic topic (but more experienced in learning) can successfully provide guidance about how to learn to another ignorant person (Matusov, Bell, & Rogoff, 2002), the conventional education project doesn’t recognize these experienced learners as “teachers” (especially in the school context). On the other hand, although students might have genuine questions that they occasionally raise in classrooms, the conventional education project does not treat these questions as a primary source of guidance for shaping the classroom curriculum. The students do not know where they are supposed to arrive – the teacher does. Thus, the students often do not have questions at all, or have “wrong” questions, according to the teacher, (i.e., so-called “off-topic” and “off-script” contributions from the teacher’s point of view, the teacher solely representing the education project in the classroom, see Kennedy, 2005). In the conventional education project, the unit of learning is not an information- seeking question that a student asks, but the correct answer that he or she produces at the teacher’s demand to an information-known question asked by the teacher. Neglecting the students’ (and the teacher’s) genuine information-seeking questions as the central unit of learning makes the conventional education project anti-dialogic yet again” (p. 5).


Matusov, E. (2009). Journey into dialogic pedagogy. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Comments are closed.