Exuberant, voiceless participation: An unintended consequence of dialogic sensibilities?

Aliza Segal, Adam Lefstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


One approach to dialogic pedagogy focuses on the interplay of voices: Whose voices are expressed and attended to in classroom discourse? And how do these voices play off of one another in creating new ideas and meanings? In particular, to what extent are students empowered to express their own voices, rather than reproducing the teacher or textbook's authoritative discourse? Building on Bakhtin, Hymes and Blommaert, we argue that realizing voice involves (a) opportunity to speak, (b) expressing one's own ideas, (c) on one's own terms, and (d) being heeded by others. Employing this framework in an analysis of Hebrew language lessons in two Israeli primary schools, we identify patterns of exuberant, voiceless participation: students enthusiastically contribute to lively classroom discussion, often framing their contributions as dialogically responding to and building on one another's ideas, but at the level of voice the discussion is for the most part univocal since most student contributions are aligned with the official voice of the teacher and curriculum, and the rare independent student voices fall out of the conversation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalL1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Classroom discourse
  • Dialogic pedagogy
  • Hebrew language teaching
  • Linguistic ethnography
  • Voice


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