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Title: Towards understanding the experiential meanings of primary school childrens encounters with ancient Egyptian objects
Author: Ovenden, Christine Ann
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2004
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This inquiry seeks an understanding of the experiential meanings of primary school children's encounters with ancient Egyptian objects by using a hermeneutic phenomenological methodology. To demonstrate how this methodology is practised, adult experiences of an exhibition of ancient Egyptian sculpture and contemporary art are analyzed and interpreted. A survey of ideas from theoretical and phenomenological literature follows, focusing on the visual, tactile and verbal dimensions of children's awareness, {itself a problematic term). The physical and social aspects of the teaching and researching context are then investigated, to discover how they impinge upon the children's experience as a whole. To consider the philosophical ideas which underpin hermeneutic phenomenology along with their application to educational research, the ideas of Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Gadamer, van Manen, Bolinow and Vandenberg are discussed; with particular reference to bracketing prejudices; collecting and analyzing observational and interview data; and interpreting the children's experience through writing and rewriting. A narrative description which aims to recreate the immediacy and complexity of the experience is then included, using composite verbal statements from the children's letters and interviews, as well as insights from my own teaching experience. The four phenomenological existentials of lived-space, lived-body, livedtime and lived-human relations are then utilized to create a structure for interpreting the common themes of this experience. These comprise the fear of disorientation, entrapment, death, 'real' objects, being under surveillance, and experiencing alternate feelings of fear and excitement; wonder, stunned amazement and curiosity; being imaginatively transported to an ancient time; and empathic/empathetic feelings of being 'in touch' with the ancient Egyptians. Findings suggest that children's embodied responses which emanate from their visual and tactile experiences, can inform not only a deeper understanding of how their feelings, imagination and memories interact, but also how this interaction has relevance for primary pedagogy, primary history and museum education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available