Category: Phenomenology in Education - February 2008
 
 

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pdf.png Special Edition on Education - Editorial (By Editor-in-Chief)  

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The papers included in this Special Edition on Phenomenology and Education focus in the main on the meaning made by various individuals – ranging from primary school pupils to university professors, distance education students in South Africa to nursing students and teachers in Sweden – of aspects of their experience in the educational domain ... .


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pdf.png Special Edition on Education - Guest Editorial (By Hennie van der Mescht)  

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The August 2004 edition of the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology (Volume 4, Edition 1) published a paper on educational leadership reporting on research using a phenomenological research design ... .


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pdf.png Philosophy - Read, Write, Laugh, and Learn: A Student’s Perspective - By Dana E. Brackney  

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In the United States, many doctoral students in nursing have not had the grounding in philosophy that other educational traditions require. The introduction of philosophical thought, both historical and current, is often unwelcome and uncomfortable for the novice who is accustomed to a pragmatic discipline. Educational methods that allow for exploration of a kind that engages the student are therefore essential to facilitate the formation of a philosophical foundation for the education and future research endeavours of the doctoral student in nursing. This paper documents one student's experience of that process and what she found to be useful in her own first attempts at understanding.


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pdf.png A Phenomenological Case Study of a Lecturer’s Understanding of Himself as an Assessor - By Rose Grant  

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Based on the findings of research conducted as part of a doctoral study aimed at obtaining an understanding of what it means to be an assessor in higher education, this paper outlines the experience of an individual lecturer at a South African university and describes the meaning he makes of his practice as an assessor within the context of a changing understanding of the nature and purpose of higher education. Making a case for personal agency and innovation as critical qualities in the assessment endeavour, the researcher suggests that, in contrast to a view of education increasingly focused on standardization, accountability and outcomes, student assessment is essentially a human encounter in which the humanity and emotions of both lecturer and student need to be acknowledged.


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pdf.png Using Phenomenological Psychology to analyse Distance Education Students’ Experiences and Conceptions of Learning - By Mpine Makoe  

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Studies on learning have tended to endorse the importance of knowledge rather than the significance of the cultural contexts embedded in the different histories and biographies of learners. In order to investigate the relationship between these contexts and students' conceptions of learning, this study focuses on South African distance students' accounts of their personal experience and understanding of learning, using Giorgi's phenomenological psychology method to explore the learners' histories and aspirations as they construct and negotiate the meaning they attach to learning. The findings indicate that the social environment, the culture, the political milieu and economic conditions are the most important determinants of conceptions of learning, with all these multiple contexts interacting to influence students' beliefs about learning, which in turn affect their approach to learning and hence their learning outcomes. It is thus argued that, in order to facilitate distance learning, the lifeworld of the learner needs to be both understood and brought to bear on the educational process.


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pdf.png Anarchic Educational Leadership: An Alternative Approach to Postgraduate Supervision - By Asta Rau  

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Supervision is widely acknowledged as influencing the quality of postgraduate theses, and thus, by implication, of postgraduates. Despite this, the literature on conducting research offers little guidance in respect of managing the supervision relationship. This paper opens a window onto the relationship - and particularly the power relationship - between a particular supervisor of postgraduate research, Howard, and his Master's student, Ray. It draws on research that explores how contemporary influences in the university domain intersect with individual agency and with power relations to produce knowledge on two levels: the thesis as an extrinsic product of processes of education, and the person as an intrinsic product of processes of learning.
Selections of Michel Foucault's insights are used to explore the notion of power and how it operates through rules of discourse to construct knowledge and identity. Accordingly, the research describes and tracks the functioning of two discourses pivotal to Howard and Ray's experience of supervision: anarchic educational leadership discourse, and humanistic discourse. The research on which the paper is based is constructivist, and as such it is underpinned by the assumption, or rather belief, that the discursive construction of reality is mediated by individual agency. In order to analyse how power operates between individuals, and between them and their broader educational contexts, a conceptual tool capable of accommodating manifest strategic processes - identified along a positional continuum as ‘push',' allow' and ‘pull' - was devised.
The case study yields several thematic correlations in interpersonal and institutional power. These are: the significance of supervisor-student matching; links between expectations, abilities, the way participants negotiate power, and the quality of professional and pastoral care they experience; the impact of personal affinity on supervision; and the influence of ontology on thesis-as-product and person-as-product.


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pdf.png Phenomenology in Teacher Education Contexts: Enhancing Pedagogical Insight and Critical Reflexive Capacity - By Carol Thomson  

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This paper draws on a phenomenological study of students' experience of the demands of a module, Reading and Writing Academic Texts (RWAT), designed with the specific aim of developing students' academic literacy. This module is a core, compulsory component of the mixed-mode Bachelor of Education Honours programme offered by the School of Education and Development at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The study thus foregrounds issues of language and literacy, and is contextualized within a "distance" model of teacher education.
The paper proceeds with a brief focus on teacher education through "distance" and the role and nature of this form of pedagogical delivery. It then engages directly with phenomenology and the relevance of a phenomenological sensitivity to pedagogical contexts. In order to demonstrate the type of process that can nudge phenomenological sensitivity into being, two aspects of the phenomenological research process that shaped this study - namely, identifying the phenomenon under study, and the phenomenological interview - are presented. The paper concludes with an explanation of the type of data analysis used, and examples of its application in this study.


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pdf.png “Heartful” or “Heartless” Teachers? Or Should We Look for the Good Somewhere Else? Considerations of Students’ Experience of the Pedagogical Good - By Tone Saevi and Margareth Eilifsen  

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Educational practice is concerned in profound ways with what is pedagogically good and right for children, and as parents and teachers we intend to help each child to cultivate his or her personal and educational potential in a human fashion. In the spirit of ancient Aristotle and Plato, Continental pedagogues and philosophers have for centuries explored the meaning of pedagogical practice/praxis and of the pedagogical good, the quality of both being regarded not as a means to an educational end, but as the end itself. But what, indeed, is the pedagogical good, and what is the significance of the pedagogical good for students? Somehow we know the good, and yet we know it not. We recognize the good experientially, but the real meaning of what we intuit eludes our grasp. So how do we explore this elusive pedagogical quality - and is it possible to explore it? Based on phenomenological interviews with both young students and adults recalling episodes from school, as well as artistic narratives, this paper aims to illuminate experiential aspects of the pedagogical good and to reflect on the significance of the good in terms of pedagogical relational practice. It is suggested that the pedagogical good is not a quality that we as teachers can possess, or do, or practise, but rather a relational force beyond our pedagogical practice that opens up the world to children and preconditions the pedagogical relation.


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pdf.png To Use a Method Without Being Ruled by It: Learning Supported by Drama in the Integration of Theory with Healthcare Practice - By Karin Dahlberg and Margaretha Ekebergh  

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The study reported in this paper focused on nursing students' learning and, in particular, their integration of caring science in theory and practice. An educational model incorporating educational drama was developed for implementation in three different teaching contexts within the nursing and midwifery study programmes at a Swedish college. A central aim was to understand the dynamics of educational drama in the healthcare context and its impact on learning and teaching. Using a phenomenological approach, seventeen students and six teachers were interviewed and their experience of drama as an educational method explored.
The research findings illustrate the meaning of learning and teaching that is sensitive to students' lifeworld experiences. In order to be a successful method for closing the gap between caring science theory and practice, not only the educational drama, but teaching in general, must be anchored in the lived world of the students - that is, their experiences of health and care. While embodied reflection, as a key factor in integrating theory and practice, was shown to be well supported by educational drama, it was also found that "the method" tends too readily to take over and govern teaching and learning. The findings of this study further indicate how learning in practice and embodied reflection can be supported by the inclusion of well-chosen caring science theory to cast light on caring practice dilemmas.


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pdf.png Can We Experience Nature in the Lifeworld? An Interrogation of Husserl’s Notion of Lifeworld and its Implication for Environmental and Educational Thinking - By Ruyu Hung and Andrew Stables  

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Given the tendency for the "lifeworld approach" to be adopted in the domain of environmental theory and education without critical examination of the key concept "lifeworld", this paper attempts to elucidate the ambiguity apparent in Husserl's development of the notion and the implications of this for teaching and learning about nature. The paper consists of three sections. The first section deals with the meaning and limitations of the current lifeworld approach to nature and the implications for environmental and educational thinking. In the second section, the confusion surrounding the concept of lifeworld is traced back to the later Husserl's philosophy. Exploring the meaning of lifeworld in Husserl's philosophy reveals that there may be two lifeworld orientations: one is explicit and objective in its emphasis on the shared and universal; the other is implicit and subjective in its emphasis on the idiosyncratically personal. The final section argues that the implicit and subjective orientation of lifeworld may be more tenable experientially, and as such more conducive to helping environmental and educational thinkers envisage an attentive and responsive approach to teaching and learning about nature.


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