Connection : a hermeneutical inquiry of an autobiographical fragment

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Heine, Bart
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2004
The title of this thesis is: Connection: A Hermeneutical Inquiry of an Autobiographical Text. It is based on the following thesis question: What is the significance of connecting with another in teaching? The following quote set the stage for the writing: "All places have names and stories, and wisdom sits in (those) places" (Chambers, 2003,p.233). Hermeneutics -- the art of interpretation -- is used to inform an autobiographical fragment. This autobiographical fragment is a fictional rendering of two days of teaching told in a narrative format. the thesis is designed around Gadamer's text Truth and Method. Gadamer's work is supplemented with the work of Martin Heidegger, F.D.E. Schleiermacher, Georg Hegel, as well as modern curriculum scholars such as Cynthia Chambers, David Smith, David Jardine and Max Van Manen. The writing begins with a methodology which grounds the writing, and then is developed through three voices in the form of a literature review, a narrative fragment, and text interpretation. The literature review is guided by questions such as Why use autobiographical narrative? What is the site of the inquiry? and Is narrative still relevant in a postmodern world? Time is also spent on the questions: Who were the great hermeneutical thinkers? and Who speaks for hermeneutics now? After the literature review, a narrative fragment is given. In the last third of the thesis, the narrative is deconstructed using Truth and Method and curriculum scholarship articles to structure the reflections. The "voice" shifts between the three sections. In the first third of the thesis the voice is intended to be academic. The voice in the narrative is personal. The third voice is interpretive and plays back and forth between academic reference and personal reflection. The major themes evolved as the writing progressed. The theme of authoritarianism as antithetical to connection was explored. Alienation acted as a foil to connection. There is an analysis of connection in the context of proper conversation, which includes guidelines for mutual respect and codes of moral conduct. The thesis provides a commentary on the power of hermeneutics to inform the teaching process. It then concludes with a series of questions pertaining to the significance of hermeneutical exploration in teacher preparation and classroom teaching.
viii, 127 leaves ; 29 cm.
Dissertations, Academic , Teaching -- Philosophy , Teacher-student relationships , Hermeneutics , Autobiographical memory