This study examines teacher and student talk about schoolwork in mentor conversations in the Swedish comprehensive school. The mentor conversations occurred within the scope of classroom work called “work with own goals”. This work organization emphasized students’ autonomy, responsibility and free choice in accordance with ideals in late-modern pedagogy. Frequently used tools such as mentor conversations, individual development plans and learning style analysis are regarded as transformations of the Foucauldian notion of “technologies of the self” used in a pedagogical context. Talk is analyzed and as a result the tools are described as vehicles for fostering self-reflection and self-control in students. There is little evidence of student commitment and genuine dialogue in the conversations. These rather mirror cemented functions of schooling, such as teacher control and traditional patterns of classroom interaction.

Keywords: late-modern education, technologies of the self, reflection, self-control