Antidialogical vs. Dialogical Teaching

There are many 'nuances' of the curriculum that I'm highlighting in smaller digestible professional development tips. This tip discusses Antidialogical vs. Dialogical teaching.

The book Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire helped me to realize that the "problem" in the classroom was often "me as the teacher" and not the students inability to be exactly what I preconceived them to be, even if I had a positive preconception.

Paulo writes "The important thing, from the point of view of libertarian education, is for the people to come to feel like masters of their thinking by discussing the thinking and views of the world explicitly or implicitly manifest in their own suggestions and those of their comrades. Because this view of education starts with the conviction that it cannot present its own program but must search for this program dialogically with the people it serves".p224

In our research we interviewed 48 college entrepreneurship programs and found most taught from a 'deficit model', meaning the instructors did not dialogue with students to help them find their own purposeful solutions and innovations through entrepreneurship, rather it predisposed a set of 'programmed' solutions, which often don't fit with poor, diverse, and rural students who are not seen as traditional CEOs. In these cases the students dropped out all together.

I know how this feels because I was that student lost, unemployed, and racially unemployable in many companies in the south. As you know the African American unemployment rate is double that of Whites and all students will not find traditional employment, for some of them entrepreneurship is the only option and if they are discouraged from that option than getting money any way will proceed.

Our work developing the Purpose University Curriculum is an effort to transform oppressive educators (of which I've been).


This oppressive view of education starts with the conviction that it has its own program. That's what we teachers have been doing for years, right? When we design a curriculum, we're really creating a "program" and we're saying students, this is the best thing since sliced bread, but instead of creating our own program, we want students to search for their own program dialogically ( through conversations with the people they serves.)

Two things I want you to realize about the Purpose University curriculum that are going to be essential to your coaching. The traditional way that we teach is called anti-dialogical. In this method, there's no dialogue. It's just me, the Sage on the stage talking and talking and talking.


We (teachers) do not ask the students....who are the people you care about? What's the problems in this community you want to change? How does your pain connect to these people? How do you heal from the pain you've gone through and what's your unique talent? What's your gift to change this community to change the world?

True purpose coaches want to hear from students. We want some dialogue. That's the kind of teacher that we need teaching the Purpose University curriculum. It's called a dialogical teaching and in this type of teaching we want student feedback.

Why? Because the students matter and they get that feeling when you ask them for their opinion, their thoughts, their critical thinking and ideas. We want the students to be the masters of their thinking. Final note, I have not been the best at this all my life. There were many times that I was well intentioned and I would think  “you know what? This young man he's an artist” or this young person “they are scientist”, but really what I was doing and I was saying, was “I know better than you what your purpose is”. We've got to stop that, and this curriculum begins to help us as teachers to do that.

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