Bakhtin is a thinker who is well worth looking up, although how much of what you find out is going to be autobiographical mythology remains an open question. Russian, did philosophy and or literary criticism, lost a leg.
I’m not going to explore his life and times, but rather to describe two idea’s of his which seem as if they should be important in education. The first idea is a kind of human uncertainty principle, the idea that we can never truly describe or understand someone in their entirety, because a person is a mutable and ever changing target, evolving and changing as life goes on and aims and goals and abilities change.
The second is a concept of multiple versions of the truth. Here the notion is that our assumption that if two people have differing views about something this implies that one of them must be wrong is called into question. The thought being that just as there are many different viewpoints in life, there may also be many versions of the truth, which, although mutually inconsistent are not necessarily privileged with respect to each other.
Again I think this has clear educational implications, where there may be many differing narratives in a group activity and no clear reason for saying that one is better than the other
1. Deborah Haynes, “Universe Magazine - Reviewing Monet Story,” spring 1998, http://www.wsu.edu/NIS/Universe/ReviewSt.html.
2. wikipedia, “Mikhail Bakhtin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,” accesed sept 27 2010, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Bakhtin.