Exploring relationships in education: A phenomenological inquiry

Author/s: David Giles, Elizabeth Smythe & Debra Spence

Edition: Volume 52, Number 2, July 2012

Summary: Research that seeks to understand the lived experience of the teacher-student relationship is not prevalent. This article reports on a phenomenological inquiry which explored the nature of this relationship in the context of teacher education. Participant’s lived experiences were hermeneutically interpreted against the philosophical writings of Heidegger and Gadamer. In this way, the research focused on the teacher-student relationship as it is ‘experienced’ by lecturers and student teachers in pre-service teacher education programs, rather than how it might be ‘theorised’. The research found that relationships are essential and matter to the educational experience whether this is recognised or not. Similarly, a teacher’s comportment was found to have a communicative aspect that is felt and sensed. Further, relationships are experienced as a play that is lived beyond the rules of engagement. Consistent with critical approaches to education, this research calls for the re-educating of educators towards essential understandings of relationship and the relational sensibilities that are integral to being in relationship.

Keywords: teacher–student relationship, Heidegger, Gadamer, teacher education, pre-service teacher education

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 52_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

 

 

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