Expressive phenomenology and critical approaches in the classroom: Process and risks for students of health sciences


  • Eileen Willis Social Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University


This article explores the use of expressive phenomenological and critical approaches to the teaching of health policy to a large class of first year health professional students studying both internally and through distance education. The phenomenological approach to classroom teaching attempts to provide students with opportunities to immerse themselves in the lived experiences of populations and individuals who are ill and in need of care. The critical approach brings the political, social and cultural realities of professional practice into the classroom discussion and reflection. The transition from the expressive phenomenological to critical analysis requires careful management by the teacher when reacting to the mood, responses and capacities of students. Managing these processes online for students studying at a distance presents additional pedagogical issues. These are: the problem of capturing ‘real time’ mood, managing the chaos of multiple student narratives, allowing time to dwell on the phenomena and dealing with the impact of violent films. 


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