Exploring relationships in education: A phenomenological inquiry

David Giles, Elizabeth Smythe, Deb Spence

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)214-236
    Number of pages23
    JournalAustralian Journal of Adult Learning
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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