New article on dichotomous discourse in teacher conversations

After a relatively long dry spell — which seemed particularly long and dry on account of numerous rejections and unending series of invitations to revise-and-resubmit (is it just me or has academic publishing become more arduous?) —  I’m pleased to share a new article on dichotomous discourse in teacher conversations:

Lefstein, A., Trachtenberg-Maslaton, R., & Pollak, I. (2017). Breaking out of the grips of dichotomous discourse in teacher post-observation debrief conversations. Teaching and Teacher Education, 67, 418-428.

The article is available for free (until September 13, 2017) here.

Educational discourse is dominated by problematic dichotomies, for example, between teacher- and learner-centred pedagogies, and between teacher control and pupil autonomy. Such dichotomies impede attempts to understand and address complex educational problems, and thwart productive discussion among practitioners and the public. This article examines how teachers in one Israeli school addressed dichotomous discourse around classroom management in video-based post-observation debrief conversations. Three ways of coping with dichotomies are conceptualized: either/or, synthesis and both/and. Factors contributing to the emergence of non-dichotomous discourse are discussed, including ambivalent leadership, the use of video representations, flattened hierarchies, and a focus on issues and dilemmas.

Comments most appreciated of course.  I’m excited about Peter Elbow’s ideas about the uses of binary thinking, and would love to discuss them and their application to educational discourse.


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