Dialogic instruction highlights relationships among teachers, students, and content. Content is the major emphasis of the instructional conversation. Dialogic instruction includes a sharing of power. The actions of a dialogic instructor can be understood on a continuum with an oppressive instructional style at one end and an overly lax style on the other. In the middle of the continuum are dialogic-enabling behaviors, which make possible a radical pedagogy. The features of this style are listening and respect, direction, character building, and authority. Yet discourse is dialogic not because the speakers take turns, but because it is continually structured by tension, even conflict, between the conversant, between self and other, as one voice “refracts” another (Nystrand 1997 page 8). The fundamental issues in a dialogic conception of instruction concern the scope of public classroom space for student’s voices and how various teacher roles and moves enhance, constrain, and otherwise affect the interpretive roles and therefore the learning of students.
An example of Ms. Jansen classroom management would be bad dialogic instruction. Ms. Jansen attempt to build a dialogic environment by placing herself on the same level with the students is quickly undermined by the pattern of interruptions and hasty evaluations that characterizes the exchange. Thereby closing off the conversation with an evaluation (Nystrand 1997 page 76). In fact, we would maintain that the din was largely a result of the question-answer format. These students were quick to recognize that the teacher’s questions were inauthentic and quick to lose patience with them. The more evident it became that any input that did not pertain to the exercise was not valued, the less attention they were willing to give the task at hand (Nystrand 1997 page 77). Although Mr. Kramer did not tend