Learning & Teaching Foreign Languages

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Mikhail Bakhtin

portrait de Mikhail Bakhtin

(Russia 1895-1975)

Bakhtin was an important scholar active in philosophy, literary criticism and psychology, writing in Russia in the 1920s and 1930s, but generally unacknowledged in Russia until the 1960s, and unknown in the West until shortly after his death in 1975.

Of relevance to the socially situated approaches to learning presented here is the notion of dialogism:

All utterances are dialogic; that is, all utterances have an addressor and an addressee.

(Swain & Deters, 2007)

In general education research circles, dialogic interactions are contrasted with dialectic exchanges: whereas in dialectic interaction with learners, the teacher solicits the expression of differing learner points of view in the process of moving toward one pre-determined position, in dialogic interaction, learner contributions may actually influence the course and outcomes of the interaction.

Another Bakhtinian notion which is important in learning theory is that of play (carnival).  This notion is shared with Vygotsky and explored in second language research by Tarone.


  1. Read more: Bakhtinian dialogism
  2. Illustration: Teaching philosophy

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