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Conference Proceeding

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In this paper, I theorize how Bakhtin’s dialogism – a sociocultural approach that views learning not as an individual cognitive achievement, but as a social practice informed by the complexity of human interaction – reconciles academic discourse and storytelling in a compelling way. As a literacy approach, storytelling is widely considered as an effective way to bridge the gaps between meeting the demands of the Standards-based classroom and fulfilling the needs of English Language Learners. However, under the current paradigm of education theorizing, personal testimonies were often dismissed as an invalid form of academic knowledge.

Conceptualizing cultural discourse as dialogic utterance – premised upon the mutually conditioning of understanding and responses - Bakhtin’s theory of discourse incorporates the vision of inclusion and diversity as a resource for learning and signals storytelling as a template to explore conflicting interests and complex interaction within contemporary life. His pedagogical approach to communication and literacy results in a new form of academic discourse that can be used to bridge the cultural-linguistic divide within the standards-based classroom.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in IAFOR North American Conference on Education 2014, Providence, Rhode Island, United States: Official conference proceedings (pp. 45-60). Nagoya, Japan: International Academic Forum. Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0. This material can be found here.