Academic journal article Indo - Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

Film as Support for Promoting Reflection and Learning in Caring Science

Academic journal article Indo - Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

Film as Support for Promoting Reflection and Learning in Caring Science

Article excerpt


Caring science that has a foundation in 'lived experience' may be viewed as a 'patient science', in other words nursing has its starting point in the patient's perspective. To support in learning caring science, the learning situation has to embrace the students' lived experience in relation to the substance of caring science. One of the challenges in education involves making theoretical meanings vivid in the absence of actual patients. Written patient narratives and fiction like novels in combination with scientific literature are often used in order to obtain lived experiences as the foundation for teaching. Questions concerning how film can be used in this context to support the learning of caring science have recently emerged. The aim of this study is to describe how film as learning-support may boost reflection when learning caring science. The data was collected through audio-taped seminars, written reflections and group-interviews with students on basic, advanced, and doctoral levels. The analysis is based on the Reflective Lifeworld Research (RLR) approach which is founded in phenomenology. The results show how film as a learning-support enhances the understanding of the caring science theory, and provides a deeper understanding of the subject. Film can be very touching and provides support for the students' embodied reflections. Hence, it is important that the students are encouraged to watch films from a caring science perspective. This requires a structure for learning-support related to the film, such as having a focus and purpose for watching the film, as well as support for follow-ups. The film itself does not create such support and guidance; instead, it must be combined with well-considered pedagogic thoughts on what learning is and how learning can be supported. The results are highlighted with the help of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of 'the lived body', and 'the flesh of the world'.


This study focuses on how the use of film can support students' reflection when learning caring science. In addition, the study investigates ways in which phenomenology can serve as a means to both deepen and expand the understanding in lifeworld-led learning.

The view of learning reflected in this study is based on a lifeworld theoretical foundation, with an epistemological starting point in Husserl's work on lifeworld theory (1936) and the theory of intentionality (1929). Merleau-Ponty's (1945) further development of Husserl's lifeworld theory and theory of intentionality clarifies man's existence in the world as a lived body, and outlines the philosophy that has been described as 'the flesh of the world' (1964), both with epistemological and ontological significance. A lived body is understood as an integrated whole, where there are no dividing lines between body and soul or life and learning (Merleau-Ponty, 1945). From this viewpoint, reflection is seen as a bodily activity that takes place in the present with temporal directions towards both the past and the future (Husserl, 1936, 1929; Merleau-Ponty, 1945, 1964). Merleau-Ponty (1948) argues that film is not a sum total of images but a temporal gestalt and an expressive force that makes us sense the coexistence and simultaneity of lives in the same world. He asks questions regarding what the film signifies. For Merleau-Ponty (1948), films tell stories and are "the closest possible reproduction of a drama which literature could evoke only in words and which the movie is lucky enough to be able to photograph" (p. 57).

In 'the flesh of the world' every thing is present both as visible and invisible. Both existences and matter are affected by the same world in reversibility; they are from the same 'flesh' (Merleau-Ponty, 1964). In the 'natural attitude' (Husserl, 1929) things are taken for granted but in learning there is a need for a reflective attitude. Learning must therefore be understood in relation to the individual's unique experience, and the way in which the phenomenon in focus is present with its visibility. …

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