Identity Should Form a Part of Any Pedagogical Theory and Practice

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Introduction "My discovering my own identity doesn't mean that I work it out in isolation, but that I negotiate it through dialogue, partly overt, partly internal, with others...My own identity crucially depends on my dialogical relations with others" (Taylor, 1995, as cited in Abbey, 2000). If dialogical relations form the basis of how we understand ourselves in the world, it figures is should also form a part of any pedagogical theory and practice. While this is not the only consideration for a teacher, it provides a centre from which a number of useful educative considerations can be made. Firstly: students come with identities that are informed by many dialogical relations and that they learn by being in social communities. Secondly:…show more content…
Through active engagement with students, teachers assess students' competencies and continually adjust the guidance and learning support as necessary (O’Donnell, 2012, p. 114). This is where Vygotsky's zone of proximal development (ZPD) becomes a valuable theoretical tool. The ZPD is the "distance between the actual developmental level", as specified by autonomous problem solving, and the level of possible development determined via problem solving "in collaboration with more capable peers" (Schunk, 2012, p. 243). According to Vygotsky, the ZPD is critical to teaching for it is where cognitive development occurs (O’Donnell, 2012, p. 114). Teaching in the ZPD requires the teacher and student to share cultural tools. However, students do not passively receive cultural knowledge from these mediated interactions (Schunk, 2012). Students come to the exchange with their "own understandings to social interactions and construct meanings by integrating those understandings with their experiences in the context" (Schunk, 2012, p. 244). The ZPD very clearly establishes learning as a moment situated in a social exchange. It also establishes the role of the teacher as not only guide, but as assessor of the ZPD. This requires constant dialectic engagement on the teachers behalf. Perhaps what is missing in terms of a constructivist approach in Jane's class is that while she does offer the students an opportunity to chose their
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