The theory of dialogism, developed by the Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin (1895–1975) with regard to literature and everyday communication, can be used to improve the teaching of science. Some of Bakhtin’s conceptual instruments are helpful in analysing the teaching process, and it is interesting to compare them with former ideas about teaching and learning, especially with the points of view of other constructivists. Together with Lev Vygotsky’s analysis of thought and language, Bakhtin’s dialogism shows how teachers can support students eﬀectively by addressing them as producers of a meaningful picture of the world. The diﬀerences between ‘dialogic’ teaching and the well-known ‘Socratic’ method are shown and analysed, as are Bakhtin’s discussions of a ‘carnivalistic’ approach to the students.
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