Dialogue, the holy grail? Dialogue in humanistic education through the critical looking glass of privilege and power.

  • M Deuling

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


This study examined how the possibilities of applying the humanistic ideal of dialogue in a classroom be can assessed in light of the problems posed by the critical discourse about privilege and power. Idealistic views of dialogue in humanistic education focus on dialogue as a panacea for all problems leading to consensus and connection. Hereby they insufficiently take into account the reality of power imbalances and unearned advantages – privileges. The literature research presented different ways in which power manifests itself: through the ability to define the agenda, to define what is seen as normal and acceptable, controlling resources, exclusion, language, and through what is seen as self-evident. Consequently, dialogue ought to explicitly address structural power inequalities and privileges. The practical aim of this study was to construct the framework for a teacher professional development module. Focusing on the development of the teacher identity the module has two goals: the first is creating awareness amongst the teacher participants, the second to move beyond inertia and reflecting upon ways to put the critical perspective into practice. The meetings would be focused on intervision and reflection, taking cases from the teachers' own professional experience to make it relevant and the concepts directly applicable. Ultimately, the framework hopes to set up a module that improves the quality of confrontations, respecting the humanity of each and every participant.
Date of Award1 Jan 2017
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorH. Laceulle (Supervisor) & G. C. Jacobs (Supervisor)

Cite this