Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English and Writing Studies



First Reader/Committee Chair

Hyon, Sunny


In this thesis, I provide an analysis of Paulo Freire’s (1973) dialogic method for language education. I then synthesize his theories with the work of sociocultural and linguistic researchers who have determined the strongest activities to bring about student language development. Finally, I apply these theories to my appendices of created works that might be utilized in an eighth-grade creative writing course. This thesis demonstrates the similarities between Freire’s students and our students in the USA today and the ways that a critical dialogic pedagogy will meet their language learning needs while also inspiring their creative, critical conscientização. Paulo Freire (1973) developed a critical pedagogy while teaching working-class Brazilians in the 1960s and 70s. His teaching framework acknowledged that education exists within economic and social limitations that aim to preserve the status quo. For this reason, the banking model of education was popularized (in Brazil and elsewhere). In this model, teachers deposit knowledge “coins” into their students’ brains to provide learning, regardless of student interest or investment in the process. Freire and his colleagues invalidated the banking model by demonstrating the ability of students to teach each other and teach themselves without a “banking” authoritarian. For students to become leaders in the classroom, he proposed the dialogic method. The dialogic method is an educational system where students use collaborative dialogue as the primary means to learn more about the objects of study. Freire theorized that codifications (culturally-relevant images) and questions are inherent to the method. He also demonstrated that his students would gain self-awareness and a critical, creative understanding of reality through his program, leaving with conscientização. These theories are the basis of critical pedagogy and have inspired language and writing teachers around the globe. Yet, these theories are also supported by sociocultural and linguistic researchers. Language development depends on both internal and external practice with new ideas and words. Internalizing language and private speech provide language learners with a chance to think their thoughts and create ideas about the topics at hand. This pondering, combined with questioning, reflecting, writing, and sharing, provides empirical support for the dialogic method. Collaborative dialogue represents the connection between students as they share and consider one another’s ideas. Through collaborative dialogue, students enter the zone of proximal development where long-term learning takes place. The dialogic teacher finds a balance between safety and tension in the classroom and maximizes student learning through these sociocultural, linguistic, and dialogic activities. These theories are then put into practice through an eighth-grade creative writing unit centering on science fiction writing. Different than the curriculum Freire used, the appendix works provide a creative possibility for what a dialogic classroom may look like in 2022. Lesson plans demonstrate the detailed expectations a teacher will set for her students. They provide time and space for students to ponder new ideas and engage in private speech. They prioritize reflection as a daily act and ask for writing so students are able to complete their thoughts after class activities. Collaborative dialogue is carefully designed and facilitated to anticipate any student conflicts that may arise. Additionally, all learning activities are connected back to Common Core standards for English language arts. These words demonstrate the power and feasibility of the dialogic approach and ask teachers to consider how conscientização may benefit their students today in 2022.