Listening to Students, Learning about Teaching
The proposed paper is based on research conducted with grade nine and twelve students in rural and urban school districts. The general orientation of the research was to explore with students the question of what enabled, or not, good learning experiences. The study was guided by the idea of research as careful listening, based on an assumption that when we as teachers and researchers listen to students we may be oriented to more authentic accounts of experiences of learning and school. Such experiences, expressed in students' words speak to qualities of being a student in existential terms--which in the paper are explored as phenomenological themes such as the experiences of time, space, relationship, and body. The paper attempts to show that a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to understanding lifeworld experiences offers opportunities for educators to develop what some writers have termed "practical wisdom" as part of their practice of teaching. Moreover, the paper will illustrate the fundamentally integral nature of the teaching/learning relationship. The difficulties of taking students' experiences seriously, especially when what they hope for runs counter to much of what has been happening in education, will be discussed.
Hans Smits (Canada)
Faculty of Education
University of Calgary
Hans Smits teaches and researches in the area of social studies education, teacher education, and action research. He has been a classroom teacher, and has worked at the university level for eight years.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)