Chapter 6. Observing the paradox: Interrogative-negative questions as cues for a monophonic promotion of polyphony in educational practices

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Many pedagogical publications (Hengst & Zeiher 2005, Walsh 2011) offer prescriptive resources to empower children’s voices in educational practices, placing particular emphasis on children’s self-realization and agency. However, none of them discusses the results of the empirical application of their theoretical prescriptions. In this chapter, I analyze interactions taken from an educational project addressed to empower children’s skills in managing social contexts, particularly with respect to conflict management. I focus on a specific sequence of actions, “educators’ interrogative-negative questions/children’s answers.” This sequence is a contextualization cue working at various discourse levels, including intertextuality, for a specific culture of education. Specifically, it foregrounds the paradox of a monophonic promotion of polyphony where, besides promotional intentions, education selects meanings, criteria and values, binding children’s actions and choices to them.


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