Samtal, klassrumsklimat och elevers delaktighet : överväganden kring en deliberativ didaktik

Sammanfattning: The aim of this dissertation is to study learning through deliberative dialogue, the social climate of the classroom, and certain aspects of student participation in civic education in upper secondary schools, as well as aspects of deliberative didactics. It takes its theoretical point of departure in John Dewey’s texts on democracy and education. An additional perspective on the social and moral aspects of democratic life is provided by Axel Honneth’s studies on disrespect and a morality of recognition. An empirical study is presented in which students and teachers were interviewed in focus groups about their opinions and experiences, on the basis of the aim of the dissertation and the research questions addressed. The analysis reveals a potential to learn civics thorough dialogue and discussion. A dialogue with deliberative qualities is characterized as one with a clearly defined purpose and relevant knowledge content. In the course of such a dialogue, the participants apply and develop certain abilities, some of which are identified in the study. Regarding the social climate in the classroom, especially during learning through dialogue and discussion, several difficulties and problematic situations were mentioned in the focus group interviews. These were problems related to “disturbing silence” and “troubling speech”. Honneth’s theory of moral recognition is in such situations seen as a basis for teachers’ professional reflections and for deliberative dialogues involving teacher and students. Concerning student participation and the civic education classroom as a form of democratic community and a public sphere, both students and teachers interviewed spoke of a balancing act between many different interests, some of which are discussed with a focus on the formation of interests. Other aspects studied are how a sense of community can be created and how the private and individualistic meet the public and common in civic education. It is concluded that the civic education classroom, considered as a public sphere, can be an arena for deliberation and thus develop a sense of community and a deliberative competence for use in a wider citizenship perspective. In the final chapter it is concluded that deliberative didactics can be seen as a didactic dimension of reflexive cooperation. It is characterized as a reflexive approach whereby the teacher invites the students to deliberate on issues of subject content, ways of working, the social climate of the classroom, and different aspects of participation and common interests. It is also argued that the practical cooperation – the actions and their consequences – following from intersubjective speech are as important as the dialogue itself.