Dialectic—a word I did not know before starting my EdD courses. It shows up everywhere for me now. It has several layers of meaning. The most basic is “the juxtaposition or interaction of conflicting ideas, forces, etc.” (dictionary.com). A dialectic can also be “discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation” (merriam-webster.com). Those two meanings are just the beginning. When you embrace two conflicting or opposing ideas at the same time, you can expand your learning and develop new ideas. A couple of years ago, I went to a workshop at Rotman School of Management on integrative thinking and was introduced to the Pro-Pro chart—like a pro-con chart, except you put the pros from two competing or dialectical ideas to a solve problem into the chart. These photos are for the redesign of schooling. The dialectical ideas are a brick and mortar school vs an online school. The “cons” are not considered, at this point, because you want to make a solution that integrates these dialectical positions in a positive way. Then you find a new and transformative solution that will bring to fruition as many of the pros from both sides as possible.
Another way to look at the dialectic was in a chapter about critical pedagogical research I was reading tonight. “Critical teachers, therefore, must admit that they are in a position of authority and then demonstrate that authority in their actions in support of students. One action involves the ability to conduct research and produce knowledge. The authority of the critical teacher is dialectical; as teachers relinquish the authority of truth providers, they assume the mature authority of facilitators of student inquiry and problem posing. In relation to such teacher authority, students gain their freedom—they gain the ability to become self-directed human beings capable of producing their own knowledge” (Kincheloe, McLaren & Steinberg, 2011, p. 165). It is dialectical to use your power of authority to give power to the students to be authors of their own learning. I struggle with that dialectic every day. #100LSreflections#100dayproject 10/100