Dialogue and language as factors contributing to transformative learning in academic tutoring

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Among a number of teaching practices, personalized education is gaining in popularity owing to its enticing appeal of a novel, humanistic attitude with unparalleled pedagogical results unlike those observed in traditional standardized mass education models. As part of the fourth moment in the history of education (according to the timeline in Davis, Sumara and Kapler, 2015), personalized education under the guise of tutoring or educational coaching is boldly re-entering schools and the academic world. Observing the daily practices of tutors and educational coaches on various levels of schooling, we can note a number of features which contribute to the emergence of a model where learning becomes an autonomous, lived experience. In this model communication is understood as a collaborative dialogical practice, which leads us to see learning as a result of interactivity in the learner-tutor dyad afforded by geo-spatial conditions, physio-psychological elements and language. All these contribute to the occurrence of transformative results as evidenced in student post-tutoring narratives. In this paper we present learning in the dialogical tutor-tutee paradigm as a distributed, embodied, and enacted meaning-making process rather than mere ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ of substantive information (e.g., De Jaegher and DiPaolo, 2007; Neuman and Cowley, 2013). Described as such, the method fits in the paradigm of self-regulated learning. We therefore postulate the claim that personalised education as exemplified by tutoring is co-agential and prompts learning on multiple timescales. Consequently, cognition and learning in tutoring is enactment of knowledge, while coordinating speech rather than knowledge transmission

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