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The Learning Conference 2003

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Teacher as Performing Artist: Creating Multiple Learning Pathways through Dialogue

Mr. Wai Yan Tang.

Sidorkin, appropriating Bakhtin’s concept, regards that “truth about human affairs should be polyphonic, because polyphony is a fundamental human condition.” (Sidorkin, 1999, p.30) If we accept this proposition, learning in a natural way has to be situated in such ecological provision. It is to the ultimate concern of every teacher supposedly to create this kind of learning path for every student in the classroom. In reality, Sidorkin claims that “Successful learning needs to be conducted according to the cycle of three discourses” (Ibid, p.77) to allow such polyphonic situation to emerge. The first discourse is mainly conducted by the teacher. Though it is monological in nature, it can serve as a preparation for a polyphony of voices that may happen in the second discourse, which is characterized by the dialogical engagement with a topic where students usually take the initiative. Sidorkin assigns the private domain, i.e. the chatter of children to the third discourse, which is not usually allowed by the teacher. However, it is up to the impact of the first discourse to determine the success of the third. This paper argues with Seymour Sarason’s view that “Teaching As a Performing Art” is an illuminating concept contributing very much to our understanding of how collaboration and collegiality can be seen in a new light, which requires our teachers to link different professional intelligences, using Gardner’s notion of the term, to create stimulating learning pathways starting in the first discourse through which our students can really benefit.


Mr. Wai Yan Tang  (China)
School Development Researcher
Quality School Project (CUSP)
Faculty of Education of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Mr. Tang Wai Yan is a PhD student of the Administration and Policy Department in the Faculty of Education of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has gained some experience both in the field of mass media and education and committed himself to use communication theory to reflect on educational issues arising out of teaching and learning. Specifically, teacher education and medium of instruction are the areas of Tang’s research interest.

  • Learning pathways
  • Teacher professionalism
  • Colleagiality
Person as Subject
  • Seymour Sarason; Alexander M. Sidorkin

(Virtual Presentation, English)