08 SES 04 A, Health Education and Empowerment
People who become visually impaired or blind as children, teenagers or adults will have their lives changed in a drastic way (Berndtsson, 2001). This is something that happens to and is relevant for people in various ages all over the world. Earlier habitual activities are no longer possible to perform in the same manner as before. Also, relations and communications to people both near and unrelated are most often changed, sometimes primarily seen upon as a blind person, a kind of stereotype. Visual impairment and blindness also have impact on existence, resulting in feelings as being of lower value and chaos in life. Becoming visually impaired has to be mourned for. Further, handling this new life-situation has to be learned. Learning deals with both learning completely new activities, as well as re-learning previously well-known activities. Using a lifeworld phenomenological approach the changed body is seen upon as having resulted in a changed world, due to the intermingle between body and world (Merleau-Ponty, 1945/2012). Learning processes are then interpreted as re-establish the relations to the world. Accordingly, lifeworld theory has shown being very relevant as a base for understanding learning in relation to a changed life-situation, due to a changed body (Berndtsson, 2001). For the purpose of penetrate and elucidate various learning aspects, four concepts have been elaborated: existential body, perceptual body, social body and acting body. These concepts focus on existential, perceptual and social aspects interrelated when learning to handle a new life-situation. The acting body mainly correlates to being able to again perform daily life activities and develop new habitual activities. While these concepts were elaborated in an earlier research (ibid.) it is the purpose of this ongoing research to further examine and problematise the concepts, as well as to deepen the theoretical underpinnings for learning to handle a new life-situation. The presented study is aimed at studying and clarifying pedagogical processes within rehabilitation focusing on the learning of persons with impaired vision. The study takes a lifeworld approach as its starting point, thus paying particular attention to how the visually impaired experience learning new skills and how this is manifested in their various life situations. A further aim of the research is to develop a pedagogical lifeworld theory within rehabilitation focussing on the visually impaired, a practice based theory. Practical example of learning new skills relates to learning to use a long cane, orientation and mobility activities, learning to handle aids and daily life activities in the participants’ homes. The specific focus in this presentation is on the integration of body and existence in learning processes, and how the lifeworld theory can further elaborate the meaning of the lived body in processes of learning. The theoretical foundation is anchored within lifeworld phenomenology, based on the work of Heidegger (1927/2013), Merleau-Ponty (1945/2012) and Schütz (1932/1967). The lifeworld is described as the natural world where we live our daily lives. It has a pluralistic and integrative view of reality, where subject and object, mind and body, the individual and society, etc. are not in fact separate entities. Most often it is not reflected upon and the task for researchers is to elucidate lifeworld aspects and how they influence learning in everyday life. The concept horizon (van Peursen, 1977) is also of great relevance for the understanding of the expansion of learning processes. Various specific concepts have been elaborated to describe the expansion of learning, e.g. the horizon of time, the horizon of possibilities and the horizon of actions (Berndtsson, 2001), where especially the dimension of time is related to existence.
Bengtsson, J. (2005). En livsvärldsansats för pedagogisk forskning [A lifeworld approach for research in education]. In J. Bengtsson (Ed.), Med livsvärlden som grund [With the lifeworld as ground] (2nd Ed. pp. 9–58). Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur. Bengtsson, J. (2013). With the lifeworld as ground. A research approach for empirical research in education: The Gothenburg tradition. The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 13, Special Edition, September, pp. 1–18. Bengtsson, J., & Berndtsson, I. C. (2014). Elevers och lärares lärande i skolan utifrån ett livsvärldsfenomenologiskt perspektiv [Teachers and pupils learning in school from a lifeword perspective]. (in press) Berndtsson, I. (2001). Förskjutna horisonter. Livsförändring och lärande vid synnedsättning och blindhet [Shifting horizons. Life changes and learning in relation to visual impairment or blindness (Doctoral thesis, Göteborg Studies in Educational Sciences 159). Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. Heidegger, M. (2013). Vara och tid [Being and time] (J. Jakobsson, trans.). Göteborg, Sweden: Daidalos. (Original published 1927) Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). Phenomenology of perception (D. A. Landes, trans.). London: Routledge. (Original published 1945) van Peursen, C. A. (1977). The horizon. In F. A. Elliston & P. Mc Cormick (Eds.), Husserl: Expositions and appraisals (pp. 182–201). London: University of Notre Dame Press. Schütz, A. (1967). The phenomenology of the social world (G. Walsh & F. Lehnert, trans.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. (Original published 1932) Taylor, S. J., & Bogdan, R. (1998). Introduction to qualitative research methods (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. Ödman, P-J. (2007). Tolkning, förståelse, vetande. Hermeneutik i teori och praktik [Hermeneutic in theory and practice]. Stockholm, Sweden: Norstedts.
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