Distinctively democratic discourse in classrooms

Susan Jean Mayer, Catherine O’Connor, Adam Lefstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This chapter outlines G. J. J. Biesta’s three dimensions of democratic educational experience—qualification, socialization, and subjectification—as resources for this exploration. It draws on related work that classroom practitioners, ethnographers, and discourse analysts have undertaken in order to envision and reflect upon potential paths forward. The chapter proposes that the Vygotskian and Bakhtinian stances characterized by R. Wegerif need to be brought into dynamic relationship if distinctively democratic patterns of knowledge construction are to flourish within classrooms. It distinguishes between a concern with apprenticing students into the discursive practices associated with the various academic disciplines and exploring and valuing the intellectual contributions and perspectives of every member of a classroom. The work of studying and remediating exclusionary or inequitable discursive practices within schools implicates everything from the patterns of classroom knowledge construction employed to the character of teacher authority expressed to the means available for addressing specific forms of academic challenge within diverse school cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Research on Dialogic Education
EditorsR. Wegerif, N. Mercer, L. Major
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429806766
ISBN (Print)9781138338517
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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