Breaking Out of the Grips of Dichotomous Discourse in Teacher Post-Observation Debrief Conversations

October, 2017
Educational discourse is dominated by problematic dichotomies, for example, between teacher- and learner-centred pedagogies, and between teacher control and pupil autonomy. Such dichotomies impede attempts to understand and address complex educational problems, and thwart productive discussion among practitioners and the public. This article examines how teachers in one Israeli school addressed dichotomous discourse around classroom management in video-based post-observation debrief conversations.
Three ways of coping with dichotomies are conceptualized: either/or, synthesis and both/and. Factors contributing to the emergence of non-dichotomous discourse are discussed, including ambivalent leadership, the use of video representations, flattened hierarchies, and a focus on issues and dilemmas.
Updated: Aug. 07, 2017