Chapter 2.2: Ontological Engagement

  • Eugene MatusovEmail author
  • Ana Marjanovic-Shane
  • Mikhail Gradovski


What is ontological engagement of the students? We analyze practices described in the teaching cases looking for the meaning of ontological engagement. We found that kindling and nurturing students’ ontological engagement is an omnipresent pedagogical desire of all Bakhtinian educators we have interviewed as well as a schoolteacher of Russian, Mikhail Bakhtin himself (Bakhtin, Journal of Russian & East European Psychology, 42, 12–49, 2004). This pedagogical desire is to overcome alienated learning—learning which is prevalent in contemporary conventional schooling based on instrumental, technological assumptions. In this chapter we explore the diverse instances and meanings of students’ ontological engagement in the curriculum. We define students’ ontological engagement in education as when the students’ lives outside the classroom, as well as the students’ lives in the moment, become a crucial part of education itself. We explore different types of ontological engagement: extrinsic, intrinsic, eventful, and through self-selection. At the end of the chapter we discuss diverse issues of ontological engagement: pseudo-ontological engagement and exploitation of ontological engagement.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene Matusov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ana Marjanovic-Shane
    • 2
  • Mikhail Gradovski
    • 3
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Independent ScholarPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.University of StavangerStavangerNorway

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