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A critique of the concept of dialogue in ZPD
An extract from the PhD Thesis:
In search of the bigger picture: toward systematisation of intellectual traditions in second language teaching
Ania Lian
Centre for Language Teaching and Research
University of Queensland, Australia

It appears that the possibility of exploring dialogue as a means by which individuals mediate their relationship with the world around them in order to affect it, rather than in order to submit to it, is outside the scope of the concern of the sociocultural approach as it is currently understood. Individuals therefore are more objects of culture and not their subjects. Differences seem to be treated more as an expression of the chunks of reality under control rather than a reflection of differences in perceptions of reality itself. This homogeneous and homogenising picture of reality that permeates the concept of dialogue in ZPD turns culture into a force which rejects dialogue as a means for confronting differences in order to consider more and, as a result, to expand the individuals’ perspectives. Rather, dialogue functions as a process in the course of which the rivaling perspectives are eliminated for the expert’s perspective to prevail. (see J. A. Cheyne &D. Tarulli Dialogue, Difference, and the "Third Voice")

Ania Lian, March 2003
Centre for Language Teaching and Research
University of Queensland, Australia 


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