Addressivity in Cogenerative Dialogues

Pei-Ling Hsu, University of Texas at El Paso

Hsu, PL. Cult Stud of Sci Educ (2014) 9: 63.


Ashraf Shady’s paper provides a first-hand reflection on how a foreign teacher used cogens as culturally adaptive pedagogy to address cultural misalignments with students. In this paper, Shady drew on several cogen sessions to showcase his journey of using different forms of cogens with his students. To improve the quality of cogens, one strategy he used was to adjust the number of participants in cogens. As a result, some cogens worked and others did not. During the course of reading his paper, I was impressed by his creative and flexible use of cogens and at the same time was intrigued by the question of why some cogens work and not others. In searching for an answer, I found that Mikhail Bakhtin’s dialogism, especially the concept of addressivity, provides a comprehensive framework to address this question. In this commentary, I reanalyze the cogen episodes described in Shady’s paper in the light of dialogism. My analysis suggests that addressivity plays an important role in mediating the success of cogens. Cogens with high addressivity function as internally persuasive discoursethat allows diverse consciousnesses to coexist and so likely affords productive dialogues. The implications of addressivity in teaching and learning are further discussed.