Pedagogies of Heteroglossia/Polyphonia
The terms of heteroglossia (hetero-many; glossia-‘golos’, voice) or polyphonia have been lately adopted in education and early childhood pedagogies. Originally conceived in Bakhtin’s literary analysis, the terms have become naturalized in pedagogy to offer educators an opportunity to visualise every-day pedagogical practices as those that are welcoming, natural, caring, humane, and multilingual. These practices are set to promote empathy, compassion, and trust while engaging educators and children into a ‘dialogue as an event-of-being’. Here, dialogue is understood as an unintentional, unplanned, and unpremeditated daily manifestation that both educators and children naturally engage into. These spur-of-the-moment dialogues are contextual and involve “the body, the mind, the heart and the soul” of a communicator (White, 2016). Through these spontaneous dialogic occurrences both educators and children manifest their conscious and unconscious identities while creating a ‘carnival’ of relational exchanges. In child care settings, if educators embark on a concept of ‘carnival’ while reducing the pressure of an adult power and stepping away from adult-imposed educational dialoguing and formalism of predetermined adult-imposed physical spaces children have a right to complexify their identities in relation with the others. This ‘carnival’ reminds us that language, emotional state, actions, and identity construction as a representation of human as a whole are complex and deeply contextual.
For Bakhtin dialogue weaves multiple aspects of human and more-than-human intricacies that intertwine to create a “joint sate of flow” – “the Mystical Collective Organic Cosmic Whole” (Gray, 2015, p. 61; Matusov & Marjanovic-Shane, 2017, p. 63).
Gray, L-A. (2015). Empathic education for a compassionate nation: A pedagogy of kindness and respect for healing educational trauma. In Thomas P. L., Gorlewski C. J. A., Porfilio B. J. (Eds.). (2015). Pedagogies of kindness and respect: on the lives and education of children. Peter Lang: New York. pp. 53-67.
Matusov, E. & Marjanovic-Shane, A. (2017). Bakhtin’s mystical organic holism and its consequences for education. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal. Vol. 5. pp. 61-74. DOI: 10.5195/dpj.2017.222
White, E., J. (2016). Introducing dialogic pedagogy: Provocations for the Early Years. Routledge: London & New York.