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The dialogic approach in education as a way of its humanization


The term 'dialogue' is treated in different ways. Correspondingly there are different nodes of building the practice of dialogue. In the simplest case the form of interaction is considered only, and the dialogue is understood as the exchange of messages. It's interesting that even when such one-sided interpretation is provided, the dialogue of learners (with teachers and among themselves) acts as a means to intensify the process of learning.

During a few decades another approach to the understanding of dialogue has been gaining its recognition. Here the main object of interest is not the form of interaction, but rather the type of interrelations. The distinction of monologic and dialogic strategies of psychological influences (including those used for educational purposes) has been proposed. The agent of a monologic influence behaves as if only he is the perfect agent and owner of truth. On the contrary, the dialogic strategy recognizes all partners as perfect agents, no matter how great their differences in age, social status, level of knowledge and experience are.

In the case of monologic influences using the dialogue as the form of interaction cannot be excluded. But it only performs here a methodic function, being one of the means to change the contents of the recipients (in particular, the learner's) mind or actions. The possibility of such changes in the agent of influence himself is not supposed, the more so that his position on some question is often (for a teacher – as a rule) a normative one and given by somebody standing above, and he himself is only the translator of this position (so in this case he, as well as a recipient, is factually deprived of the genuine agent's quality).

However, if the dialogic strategy is used, the agent of influence implements his individual, personal position in it. Certainly, he takes into account the norms and values acting in the society (in education they are embodied, in particular, in curriculum demands), but he adds his own interpretation to them. His position may change in the course of the interaction with recipients, each of them having also the right for his own individual position (and so he turns to be a genuine partner). Thus the dialogic strategy of psychological influences permits to re-evaluate the к as moments of interaction, in which all partners have equal rights and at the same time depend on each other.

In a humanistically oriented educational process the dialogic strategy is predominant. It does not mean, however, that educational influences have no monological feature there. It may be said that dialogism includes monologism as its aspect. The significance of the latter is the most evident when learners master concrete knowledge or methods of actions. But when one begins interpreting, discussing and evaluating monologic components of educational contents, reflecting over those components, — the prerogatives of the dialogic strategy turn to be retained entirely.

So we discover that, in addition to the two interpretations described above, the dialogue has 'the third face' which is expressed in the dialogic features of the contents of the modern man's thinking and activity. These features (and, connected with them, the doubtfulness of every knowledge) seem to enter a thought object itself today, to be its necessary aspect — and, naturally, to produce dialogue both as a form of communication and as a type of interrelations among those who study that object. If my partner's interpretation of it is different from mine, this interpretation turns to be necessary for me — thanks to this difference. Answering its challenge, I make my comprehension of the object deeper and I also begin to understand myself better. Thus the truth is presented as a discussion about the truth, as a dialogue.

This change of orientation corresponds to the increased role of the dialogue in the modern world, this role having been an object of the philosophical analysis in the works by M. Buber, M.M. Bakhtin, H.G. Gadamer, V.S. Bibler and others. And this analysis itself has been a response to the modern reality, when the attempts to monopolize the truth or the way to it prove to be more and more groundless in science, politics and other areas of social life.

The increasing dialogic features of modern thought objects, of human activity and life demand that — not in theoretical discussion only, but in any business — my partner would look at the object in a different way, would be my opponent and, thanks to this, would be valuable and necessary for me. So it occurs that dialogism and the humanistic world outlook, which affirms the interdependence of individuals and the self-value of each of them, presuppose one another. This permits to move from the liberal pluralism, when all are equal, but in fact indifferent to each other, – to the 'high pluralism', when, at its highest degree, everyone is significant and valuable and all are necessary to each other.

In the educational area the described tendencies are manifested in the growing popularity of the dialogic approach, which, at the same time, is culturologic and personalistic. This approach is based on the following interconnected principles:

- in the education the cognition of the world must proceed in an organic connection (and a dialogue) with other (ethical, aesthetic etc.) modes of its comprehension in the context of culture;

- such (dialogic) comprehension can be only achieved by a personality who communicates freely and culturally with other persons and with herself (and, at the same time, a personality develops by means of the deepening comprehension of an object, the world and herself);

- according to this, the educational process relies on the priority of a learner's and a teacher's personalities and must include the dialogue of personalities in its organization;

- this presupposes the contents of education to be dialogised also and to reveal dramas of ideas and of persons, these dramas being embodied in original works of culture, which ought to be broadly used in studying very different subjects and solving different didactic problems.

The outlined principles as desired features of the educational process are declared today in various interpretations by many scientists and practical educationists. The most consistent in this relation is the conception of the School of dialogue of cultures (V.S. Bibler a.o.).

The practical implementation of the described approach meets considerable difficulties connected primarily with the monologic orientation of the today's school. But however complex the emerging problems are, they need be solved.