Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Joyce E. King

Second Advisor

Dr. Jodi Kaufmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Vera Stenhouse

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Davis Stinson


The purpose of this ethnographic study was to gain a deeper understanding of how pedagogical dialogue functioned in a course on multicultural education theory in a college of education. The focus of the study was on the pedagogical dialogue that took place between a professor and students. The setting of the study was a classroom within an urban university located in the southeastern region of the United States. Data collection consisted of interviews, research field notes, and observations; the data were then analyzed for recurring themes. The theoretical foundation for this study was based on the communicative theories of Paulo Freire and Jurgen Habermas; that is, the manner in which their theories have restructured the praxis found in the dialogical learning processes.

The aim of the study was to investigate the manner in which dialogue mediates the realities of human need and an individual’s capacity to reflect and act in liberating ways. Freire and Habermas position the act of communication (particularly dialogue) as the key to human understanding and personal/political liberation. The method of analysis focused on meaning gained from thematic analysis sought through processes of feedback such as interviews and observations. It is hoped that this study will serve as a catalyst to spawn further research within the field of teacher education, pedagogy, and the impact that dialogue has on the instructor’s relationship with his or her students.