Toward a Practice of Polyphonic Dialogue in Multicultural Teacher Education

Jun. 10, 2010

Source: Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 436–453, (June 2010).

As the instructor of a multicultural education course for preservice teachers, the author has attempted to guide her students in critiquing and reconceptualizing the deficit view of students, particularly minority students, endemic to the American school system.

Yet, the author has faced with a dilemma: Is the fact that the author believes her own students have deficit views of their future students not itself a deficit view, similar to the one the author is trying to challenge? How can the author escape this model of the teacher fixing the deficits of students in her own teaching? Bakhtin provides a framework within which the author as a university professor can avoid the deficit trap with regard to her own students.

Using a self-study methodology, this article analyzes ways in which adopting a pedagogy based on Bakhtin's (1986, pp. 292–293; 1999) notions of dialogism and polyphony has shifted the author’s own and her students' participation patterns and describes some of the challenges the author faces in the continuous process of reflection on and redesign of her own teaching practice.

After identifying potential patterns of dialogicity and developing some strategies for promoting these, the author presents a case study illustrating how these dialogic teaching strategies provided a framework for exploring heteronormativity.

Updated: Nov. 23, 2010