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Living Away from Blessings

Living Away from Blessings

This uncommonly sensitive book is about something much too common: children's experience of failure. Failing in school and failing at school, failing at life. This text reads like a marvelous compendium of sensitive pedagogical reflections on young people who have been regarded as failures.

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Author: Carina Henriksson
Binding: Softbound
ISBN: 978-0-920354-67-4
Publisher: The Althouse Press
Pages: 164

Publication: 2008

Carina Henriksson shows us that to understand student failure is not just to focus on the moments at which students fail a particular task or performance; rather, one has to be attentive to the whole world of the child at school: the room, the desk, the atmosphere, the teacher's voice, the happenings, the others, and the many small things that constitute everyday life at school.

Max van Manen (from the Foreword)

The notion of school failure is often understood only in terms of students' cognitive inadequacies or their dropping out of school. In this sense, students' failure really is seen as their failure. Living Away from Blessings offers an alternative understanding of the notion by examining students' lived experiences of school failure in the classroom. The experiential accounts of teenage students show that they view school failure as having little to do with cognitive inadequacy and everything to do with their behaviour. The lived experiences described by the students include feelings of disappointment, non-recognition, loneliness, boredom, shame, marginalization, stigmatization, inferiority, and worthlesssness. Drawing on phenomenological philosophy, Carina Henriksson explores the temporal, spatial, and relational dimensions of the experience of school failure. Living Away from Blessings is an insightful and sensitive inquiry into taken-for-granted attitudes about pedagogical relationships and classroom interaction.

The Author

Carina Henriksson was born in Sweden and has lived there for most of her life. She holds a Teacher's Degree in English and Swedish, and a Masters and a Ph.D. in Pedagogy. After teaching languages in Senior High Schools in Sweden for twelve years, Carina was an assistant professor and senior lecturer at the School of Education, Växjö University, Sweden, from 1996 to 2004. In 2007, Carina moved to Singapore where she continues to do hermeneutic phenomenological research. Before leaving for Singapore she was the coordinator of a multi-disciplinary research group, Citizen Participation and Social Inclusion, at Växjö University. As a continuing member of this research group she is presently researching lived experiences of dyslexia. Her research interests are marginalized students, lived experiences of school, curriculum studies, teacher education, teachers' practice, and phenomenology. She has published in the areas of pedagogy at juvenile institutions, students with special needs in senior high school, school drop-out, curriculum studies, moral education, hermeneutic-phenomenological methodology, and online communication and education. Carina is the main editor of the international journal Phenomenology & Practice, a human science journal dedicated to the study of lived experiences within a broad range of human endeavours.



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