Pedagogical relationships: Unfolding possibilities

Year: 2002

Author: Noone, Genevieve

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

I believe the main aim of education should be to assist children to develop to their full potential: to become 'the best people that they possibly can be' (Neville, personal communication, 13 August 2001). But what is 'the best'? What is our human potential? David Bohm (1996:94) believes that, despite current cynicism and pessimism, 'the human race has great possibilities', and that we need to contemplate what our potential might be. This paper looks at a recent research project in which I studied of the nature of the pedagogical relationships between children and voluntary community members in a primary school. The study aimed to discover the nature of these pedagogical relationships; the possibilities and potential. The study used the philosophy of phenomenology as explicated by Max van Manen (1997) to inform the methodology. Van Manen (1997:12) proposes phenomenological research as an appropriate methodology for studying pedagogical relationships, as it has, as its ultimate aim, 'the fulfilment of our human nature: to become more fully who we are'. The study employed the analytical processes of poeticizing, dramatizing, dialoguing, dwelling, and writing to discover some of the possibilities of these relationships. This paper presents an overview of the methodology of this research, discussing the data it produced and the processes employed in the phenomenological analysis.