The 10th Festival of Education



It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak at the 10th Festival of Education at Wellington College. My talk was entitled ‘Teaching through and for Dialogue’. You can download the slides with some brief notes here, and a more detailed set of notes here. Please do let me have any feedback.

It was interesting to hear so much at the Festival about the perceived tension between a curriculum focused on the transmission of ‘the best that has been thought and said’ and a curriculum focused on the development of the whole person (including the development of agency and the empowerment of young people). Perhaps a dialogic view of education offers something of a solution. Here the ‘best that has been thought and said’ isn’t simply transmitted; opportunities are created for meaning making and the active co-construction of understanding, requiring the development of critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking (and oracy) through the medium of dialogue. Ideas and knowledge are presented not as fixed and final but as provisional – the best answers we currently have to the best questions we have asked so far. Our knowledge is part of a great and ongoing dialogue which we are supporting young people to join and take forward. This supports a deep understanding of foundational concepts, the development of agency, and the capacity to join the dialogue of humanity.

In any case, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to join the dialogue at the Festival – many thanks to the organisers for a fantastic event.



The notes accompanying my presentation and course incorporate the ideas of Professor Rupert Wegerif, along with other acknowledged sources.

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