From Dialogue to Bakhtin’s Dialogue: A Critical Review in Learning Disability Research

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Waseem Mazher
Jong-Gu Kang


learning disability, dialogue, Bakhtinian


The purpose of this study was to understand the nature of dialogue used in peer-refereed research articles related to learning disabilities (LD) and instruction. We attempted to evaluate the quality of dialogue in these articles through a lens that Bakhtin and various disability studies scholars offer.  In addition, we suggest that disability scholars’ concepts and uses of dialogue provided a way for us to frame our Bakhtinian critique in the broader context of theorizing the social model of disability.  From a critical review of these articles, we identified various limitations in ways that dialogue is used to conduct the studies and also in the ways that dialogue is represented by the authors.  The studies often minimized the voices of the students labeled as LD.  We offer many suggestions for how to present their voices in research and how to improve teaching through conceptualizing learning in a different, more sensitive way as informed by Bakhtin’s notion of dialogue.

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