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LostinSpace?

LocatedinPlace: GeophenomenologicalExplorationandSchool
Authors: RuyuHung,UniversityofBath,UK Postaladdress:DepartmentofEducation,UniversityofBath,BA27AY,Bath Emailaddress: rh264@bath.ac.uk AndrewStables,UniversityofBath,UK Postaladdress:DepartmentofEducation,UniversityofBath,BA27AY,Bath Emailaddress: edsawgs@bath.ac.uk MichaelBonnett,UniversityofBath,UK Postaladdress:DepartmentofEducation,UniversityofBath,BA27AY,Bath Emailaddress: m.r.bonnett@btopenworld.com

LostinSpace?LocatedinPlace: GeophenomenologicalExplorationandSchool
Abstract Whoarewe?isanimportantquestionineducationforhowwedefineourselves usually determinestheaimofeducation.Hiddenthisquestionisanotherquestionthat hasoftenbeenneglected:wherearewe?.Theplacewherewearesituatedorsettled affectedthewayweconceive,perceiveandact.Tofocusin education:theplace whereweareeducatedinfluenceswhatandhowwelearn.Thusschoolmayimpact on theprocessandtheresultofeducation.Thoughschoolshaveusuallybeentakenas abuiltphysicalenvironmentwhereformaleducationtakesplace,thispaperaimsat revealingthevariousmeaningsofschoolsasmorethanabuiltphysicalenvironment fromthegeophenomenologicalperspective. Therearevariouswaystoexperienceanenvironmentandtherebyconstitute variouslevelsofmeaningsbetweenthisenvironmentandus.Forexample,an environment,e.g.aschool,canbeperceivedasaspaceorasaplace,fromthe geographicalphenomenological(hereafterreferredasgeophenomenological) perspective.Theperceptionofaschoolasaspaceorasaplaceisgroundedon differentmeaningsanddifferentrelationshipsbetweenperceiverandtheschool.The differentmeaningsorthehuman/environmentrelationshipsexerciseimplicitlyor explicitly,moreorless,influenceupontheprocessandtheresultofeducation. Moreover,dwellingisoftenusedbymanyauthors todescribeanappropriate relationshipbetweenhumansandtheirenvironments.Then,isitpossibletotake schoolasanenvironmentin which todwell?Thesedoubtsshowthatthe geophenomenologicalmeaningofschoolisworthexploring.Thispaperconsistsof threesections:thefirstsectionaimsatdefiningtheprimarymeaningofenvironment asabasichumanspatialexperiencefromthestanceof geographicalphenomenologythesecondsectionstrivestomanifestthe geophenomenologicalmeaningsof spaceandplacethefinalsectiondiscusses theeducationalimplicationsofschoolasaspaceandasaplace.

1.Environmentinthegeophenomenologicalview Thequestionofhowtoconstituteanappropriaterelationshipbetweenhumansand theirenvironmentsconcernsmanyauthors(Buttimer,1976Heidegger,1971Seamon, 1993).Thisquestioncanalsobearticulatedasthefollowingone:howcanhuman beingsliveinaharmoniousrelationwiththeenvironment?Therearesomeother termsrelatedtoenvironment,especiallyplaceandspace,alsooftenusedin geography(Nogu i Font,1993).Someelucidationoftheconceptof geography mightavailustograspthemeaningoftheconceptof environment. AccordingtoGeer(1923,pp.15),geographyisthesciencetostudythe distributionofphenomenaonthesurfaceofearth,and,inshort,thewordgeography meansdescribingtheearth.MacKinder(1887,p.143)hasdefinedgeographyasa sciencethattracestheinfluenceoflocality,thatis,ofenvironmentvaryinglocally Iproposethereforetodefinethesciencewhosemainfunctionistotracethe interaction ofmaninsocietyandsomuchofhisenvironmentasvarieslocally. Overall,asthe AssociationofAmericanGeographers(AAG,2007)defines,geography 2

consistsoftwobranches:humangeographyandphysicalgeography.Theformeris concernedwiththespatialaspectsofhuman existence,includinghowpeopleand theiractivityaredistributedinspace,howtheyuseandperceivespace,andhowthey createandsustaintheplacesthatmakeuptheearthssurface,whilethelatterwith naturalenvironmentandthenaturalphenomenalikepatternsofclimates,landforms, vegetation,soils,andwater(AAG,2007). Theconceptofenvironmentorplacedemonstratedbythementionedorthodox definitionofgeographyseemstobeasascientificobject,whichisdistanced,remote, passiveandavailabletobedissected,experimentedandstudied.Geographyaimsto studytheinteractionbetweenhumanandenvironmentinanobjectiveandscientific wayhowever,theinclusionof phenomenologicaldiscourseoflifeworldbroadens itsfield(Buttimer,1976Casey,2001).Phenomenologicaldiscourseoflifeworldin somerespectsenrichestheunderstandingof environmentorplaceor spacein thefieldofgeography. Howdoesphenomenologyenrichgeography?Inmorespecificterms,howdoes thecollaborationofphenomenologywithgeography,whichhereafteriscalled geophenomenologyinthisstudy,nourishthewayhumansexperienceorconceive ofenvironment,place,land,landscape,earthandNature?Letusgiveabrief expositionofphenomenology.AccordingtoEdmundHusserl(1927,p.2p.9)the founder,phenomenologydenotesanew,descriptive,philosophicalmethod.Thus, thescienceofallconcretephenomenapropertosubjectivityandintersubjectivityis eoipsoanaprioriscienceofallpossibleexistenceandexistences.Phenomenology canbebroadlyunderstoodasageneralphilosophicalmovementor asaphilosophical method.AsHusserl (1927)states, Phenomenologyisuniversalinitsscope,because thereisnoaprioriwhichdoesnotdependuponitsintentionalconstitution,andderive fromthisitspowerof engenderinghabitsintheconsciousnessthatknowsit,sothat theestablishmentofanyapriorimustrevealthesubjectiveprocessbywhichitis 1 established(Husserl,1927,p.9) . Eitherasamovementorasa method, phenomenology highlightsthestatusofaconscioussubjectintheprocessof consciousness.Therefore,contrastedwiththetraditionalgeographicalwayof conceivingoftheenvironmentfromtheperspectiveofadetachedandspectatorial professional,thegeophenomenologicalwayofexperienceemphasisesthepositionof thesubjectintheenvironmentanditsinterrelationwiththeenvironment.As MerleauPonty(2003,p.ix)states,[a]llmyknowledgeoftheworld,evenmy scientificknowledge,isgainedfrommyownparticularpointofview,orfromsome experienceoftheworldwithoutwhichthesymbolsofsciencewouldbemeaningless. Thephenomenologicalapproachnotonlystressestheactiveroleoftheconscious subject,butalsoemphasisestheinteractionbetweenthesubjectandonesworld or environment.ThatiswhyMerleauPonty(2003,pp.354355)states,any perceptionofathing,anyperceptualconstancyrefersbacktothepositingofa worldandof asystemofexperience.Butthesystemofexperienceisnotarrayed beforemeasif IwereGod,itislivedbymefromacertainpointofview Iamnotthe spectator, Iaminvolved Thusthecollaborationbetweenphenomenologyand geographyilluminatesthedynamicrelationshipbetween environmentasanobject spatiallyexperiencedandhumankindasasubjectexperiencingenvironment.The convergentviewbetweengeographyandphenomenologyisthusdefinedhereafteras geophenomenology.
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J.S.MoorehasmadeadetailedbutsuccinctexplicationaboutHusserlsphenomenologyasamethod. SeeMoore(1942)Isthisphenomenology?

2.TheExperienceofGeophenomenologicalSpaceandPlace Acoreconcernofphenomenologyistheanalysisandtheinterpretationof consciousness,especiallytheconsciousnessofdirectexperience(Buttimer,1976 Husserl,1964),thusthegeophenomenologicalanalysisof anenvironmentisto exploretheexperienceoftheenvironmentinitsgeographicalaspect,orhowpeople perceivethegeographicalregion.Whatdistinguishesgeographicalexperienceof environmentfromgeophenomenologicalexperienceofenvironmentisthatinthe formerexperience,theexperiencingsubject,asaspectator,keepsafixedand distancedrelationshipwiththesurroundings,whileinthelatterexperience,thesubject isinvolvedorengagedwiththehisorhersurroundings. Therearethreefactorsinvolvedwhenthereisaconsciousnessofanenvironment: thesubjectsurrounded,theobjectssurroundingandtheinterrelationshipbetween them.Thesenseofenvironment,basically,includeseverythinglocatedinits surroundings.Inthatcase,myenvironmentforinstance,myroomwhereinarefour wallsastheboundariesaroundmeseemstocovereverythinginthisroomasparts ofmyenvironmentandmyselfasthecentreorcorebeingenvironedorsurroundedby thosethings.Butitisimpossibleformetoperceiveeverything.Ifthereisaspiders web atthecornerwithoutbeingnoticed,isitapartofmyenvironment?Ifthespiders webhasneverbeenfoundevenwhenImoveoutofthisroom,itcouldnotbe accountedapartofmyenvironment.Insomesense,itneverexists,tomeinother words,ithasnomeaning.Takeanotherexample.Whentherearemorethantwo peopleinthesameroom,itdoesnotmeantheirenvironmentsareexactlythesame, becausewhateachperceivesaboutthisplacecannotpossiblybeidenticalduetotheir differentphysicalconditions.Everyconceivingofanenvironmentorsurroundingsis unique.Insomerespects,anenvironmentassurroundingscouldbeunderstoodnot merelyasResource,butratherasSources,notonly astheassemblageofallobjects readyforuse,butratherastheassemblageofallobjectsthatsurround.Moreover,that onesamephysicalplacegivesdifferentpeopledifferentmeaningsisnotonlyrelated tothephysicalreasonsbutalsorelatedtothementalones,suchasintention, expectation,imaginationormemory.Thusthemeaningofaplaceisrelatedtothe individualsubjectandhisorherinterrelationshipwiththeenvironingobjects.The meaningofaplaceofonesubjectcouldchangewithtimesinceonesintentionality mightchangeandtheinterrelationshipbetweenthemmightbedifferentaswell.An environmentthuscouldbecalled,inCoopers(1992,p.169)terms,afieldof meaningsorsignificance,orintermsofDovey(1993,p.250),aknotofmeaningin thefabricofhumanecology.Thisfieldofmeaningsorsignificanceisawebof meanings,suchthattheitemswithinitsignifyorpointtooneanother,thereby, forminganetworkofmeanings(Cooper,1992,p.170).Itcanbefoundfromthe discussionabovethatthemeaningofanenvironmentoraplaceistheprimary crucialpointintheprocessofconceivingofthesurroundingsfromthe geophenomenologicalperspective. Whatisnoteworthyisthatthediscussionshowstheimportanceoftheactiverole ofthesubjectsurroundedintheprocessofmeaningconstructionhowever,itdoesnot meanthatthesurroundingthingsonlyplayapassiveandstaticroleduringtheprocess. AsMerleauPonty(2003,p.374),citingScheler,comments,Iperceiveeverything thatispartofmyenvironment,andmyenvironmentincludeseverythingofwhichthe existenceornonexistence,thenatureormodificationcountsinpracticeforme. Theconstructionofmeaningbetweentheenvironed/conceivingsubjectandthe 4

environing/conceivedobjectsisaprocessofinteraction,interplayandinterrelation betweenthem.Inthatcasethemeaningconceivedofenvironmentisuniqueand inexhaustible.Theuniquenessoftheperceptionofenvironmentechoes MerleauPontys(2003,p.383)words:itisuponourexperienceoftheworldthatall our operationsconcernedwithsignificancemustbebased,andtheworlditself, therefore,isnotacertainsignificancecommontoallourexperiences Themeaning constructedbetweenoneandonesworldcannotbeidenticalwiththatbetweenthe otherpeopleandtheirworldsintheviewofMerlearPonty,sinceeveryoneisunique, everyexperienceisparticular,theworldoneperceivesisunparallelled,andevery fieldofmeaningsisthereforeoneandonly.Theuniquenessinvolvesinexhaustibility becausethereareinfinitepossibilitiesofmeaningsinterwoven.Oneplacecanoffera uniqueandinexhaustiblerangeofexperiences.Itisthemeaningthatmakeseveryone conceiveof anenvironmentasaparticularenvironmentonlyforhimorher.Inthis geophenomenologicalfieldofmeaning,thereareseveralgeosites,includingspace, placelifeworldandhome,whichindicatedifferentzoneswithshadesof meaningrespectively.Thecircleofmeaningconveyedbyeachgeositeisnotdiscrete. Thispaperputthestressesonthegeositesspaceandplaceasthecruxesto conceivethegeophenomenologicalmeaningsofschool.Then,whatisthedifference betweenthetwogeosites?Howdoweconceivetheshadesofmeaningsconveyedby them?Thereisnoabsoluteborderlinehowever,twoideasareproposedtodelineate thedelicatenuances:theideasofstrangenessandintimacy. Strangenessdenotesthestateofbeingstrange,unusual,estrangedand unfamiliarwhileintimacybycontrasttheconditionofbeingacquainted,close, privateanddevoted.Theyseemtobeoppositepolesononespectrum,expressingthe intensityofthemeaningbetweenoneandonesenvironment.Ifanenvironmentis verystrangetousthenitisnotintimate.Indeed,strangenessandintimacyaretwo elementsplayingaduetofhuman/geositerelationship.Itisgenerallyacceptedthat duringtheprocessofshiftingfrom environmentasspacetoenvironmentasplace, theareasbecomeshrinkingandthehuman/geositerelationshipsbecomelessstrange andmoreintimate.Paradoxically,strangenessandintimacycoexistdialectically.As strangenesscouldbeperceivedinthemostintimateplacesowecanbeawareof intimacyintheremotestarea.Theintertwinementofstrangenessandintimacy becomesmoreandmoredistinctivewiththeexplorationof environmentasspace andasplacefromthegeophenomenologicalperspective.

2.thegeophenomenologicalmeaningsofenvironmentasspaceandasplace Comparedtoenvironment,placereferstoaregionimplyingmoremeaningstous (Cannatella,2007Casey,1996,2001Gustafson,2001Tuan,1975,1977,1986).One pointthatneedsmoreelucidationisthedifferencebetweentheconceptsof place andspace,bothofwhichareoftenusedingeography.Asbasiccomponentsof lifeworld,placeandspacebothprompthumanresponsesincomplicatedways theirmeaningsmayoftenmergebutnotequatewith eachother.However,thesetwo termsareoftentakenforgranted,onlywhenpeoplethinkaboutthemcarefullyare unexpectedquestionsandmeaningsraisedbythem(Tuan,1977).Tuanstressesthe complementaritiesofthetwoconcepts:Fromthesecurityandstabilityofplacewe areawareoftheopenness,freedom,andthethreatofspace,andviceversa. Furthermore,ifwethinkofspaceasthatwhichallowsmovement,thenplaceispause eachpauseinmovementmakesitpossibleforlocationtobetransformedinto 5

place(1977,p.6).FromTuansview,placeandspaceareanindivisibledyadto understandhumanexperience.However,therearesomeviewsnotputtingthesame valueonthedyadasTuandoes,suchasCasey(2001,p.683): [b]othgeography and phenomenologyhavecometofocusonplaceasexperiencedbyhumanbeings,in contrasttospace,whoseabstractnessdiscouragesexperientialexplorations.a primarytaskhasbeentodojusticetotheindispensabilityofplaceingeographical theoryandpractice.InCaseysmind,placeistheprimary ideatoexperiencean environment,whereasspaceisthesubordinate.Inourview,whatmakesplaceor spaceadyadorgivespriorityinplaceoverspacehingesonthecontext. Casey(1996)hasmadeacomparisonbetweentheconceptionsofspaceand placeofthetheorisinganthropologistsandthoseofnativepeople.Itisfoundthat [f]ortheanthropologist,Spacecomesfirstforthenative,Place(Casey,1996,p. 15).Caseypointsoutthattheanthropologists conceptionsofspaceandplaceandthe primacyofspaceoverplaceareunderpinnedbyKantianepistemology,asKantstates Generalknowledgemustalwaysprecedelocalknowledge(citedbyCasey,1996, p.16).InKantianandNewtoniancontext,spaceandtimearethetwopureformsof sensuousintuition,asprinciplesofknowledgeapriori(Kant,2004).Space, accordingtoKant(2004),isanecessaryrepresentationaprioriastheconditionof thepossibilityofphenomena.[and]thebasisforexternalphenomena.In the Kantianview,spaceisoneofnecessaryandfundamental formalconditionsforhuman recognition.Itcanbefoundfromthediscussionabovethatspace,abstractandgeneral, isanteriortoplaceonthetheoreticallevelandthereforetheconceptionofabstract spaceisbroadlycompatiblewithmodernistorientations. Butifviewedinthelightofphenomenology,whichmeansthelivedexperience istakenasthestartingpointofanalysis,therecognitionoftheabstractspaceis posteriorbutnotanteriortoperceptionbecauseitistheproductofreflection.The followingquestionwasposedintheseventeenthcenturybyWilliamMolyneux to JohnLocke:Supposeamanbornblind,andnowadult,andtaughtbyhistouchto distinguishbetweenacubeandasphere[be]madetosee:[couldhenow]byhissight, beforehetouchedthem...distinguishandtellwhichwastheglobeandwhichthe cube?AndLockesanswerisNo(Sacks,1993).NeurologistOliverSacks(1993) proposes twosimilarlyrealcasesbutindifferentperiodsoftime,whichareintune withthestoryabove.Oneofthecaseswasaboy bornblindintheeighteenthcentury andtheotherinthetwentiethcentury,anadultwholosthisvisionwhenhewasvery young.Thetwocasesdemonstratethatthesepatientshavenosenseofspaceas normalpeopledoevenwhenthey regainedtheirvisualabilitytheycouldnot makesenseoftheirvisual andspatialexperiences.Forexample,Virgil,thepatientin thesecondcase,afterdaysofsurgeryandlearningtoseethroughhistactilememory, couldseepartsofanobjectseparatelysuchasanangle,anedge,acolour,a movementbutwouldnotbeabletosynthesisethem,toformacomplexperception ataglance(Sacks,1993,p.5).Tobeabletograsptheobjectinawholeataglanceis onepartofspatialabilityandperceptionofspace.Onlywhenpeopleperceivespace aretheyabletorecognisespaceandmakesenseofit.Thesenseofspaceisclosely connectedwith visionbutforthesenseofplaceitisnotnecessarilylikethat.People mayrelyonolfaction,acousticandtactileexperiencesandthesenseoftastetobe awareofaplace,tofindaplace,topositaplace,ortobesituatedinaplace. Thesenseof placeispriortothatofspaceinthecontextofphenomenology.The phenomenologyofthesenseofplaceofnativepeopleechoeswiththeabove.As Myersstates, tothePintupi,then,aplaceitselfwithitsmultiplefeaturesisprioror central(citedfromCasey,1996,p.15).ThisviewisnotonlysupportedbyMyers,but 6

alsoFeld(1996)whomadehisethnographicresearchonnativesinNewGuinea.Itis shownfromFelds(1996)researchthatthesenseofplaceofthenativesconsistsof sensation,especiallysoundbutnotsight thevisualsensationvaluedmorethanthe othersinthemodernthinking(Ong,1969).Thusthesenseofthemodern threedimensionalspaceoccupieslessimportanceintheirexperienceofworld.In Felds(1996)research,therainforestwherethenativepeopleKaluliliveisdescribed bythetermsrelatedtovariousbodilymovementsandmultiplesensations.The placenamesembodytheKalulipeoplesselfidentityandtheirownlivedexperience ofplace,i.e.emplacement,locatingandplacingthemselves.Itistheintriguing activity namingthattransformsthestrangeorthealienatedintothefamiliar andtheintimate.Tonameaplaceisanactivitytoturnananonymous,abstractand occultspaceintoanacquainted,concreteandsensiblelocationinotherwords,to nameaplaceistoshadealightonsomewhereindarknessbybestowingmeaningon it.AsSteele(1981,p.9)definedit,thesenseofplaceisanexperientialprocess createdbythesetting,combinedwithwhatapersonbringstoit(citedinManzo, 2003,p.47).Therefore,tonameplaces,insomerespects,isaprocessoflocatingand placingoneselfinanenvironment,anactofconstitutingtherelationshipbetween oneselfandthesurroundings,anactoffindingandconstructingmeaningofones world.Overall,thesenseofplaceiscrucialtograspthemeaningofNatureasan environmentinthecontextoflived/livingexperience.

3.SchoolasaSpacevs.SchoolasaPlace Thepreviousdiscussionsaboutthegeophenomenologicalconceptsof spaceand placeareilluminatingtoelaboratethemeaningsofschool.Therearetwomain categoriesofquestionsaroundwhichtohingeourinquiryrelatedtoschool:firstly, whatarethemeaningsofexperiencesoftheschoolasspaceandasplace?Howisa schoolperceivedasspaceorasplace?Secondly,asmentionedabove,namingisan actiontogivemeaningstoan environmentandturnitintodifferentgeosites,then whatdoesnamingmeaninaschool?Whateducationalimplicationsdoesnaming bringabout?Howdoteachersorstudentsnamebeingsintheschool? Firstofall,ithasbeenfoundthatspaceandplacearetwokindsof experienceofanenvironment.Theexperienceofanenvironmentasspaceisto perceiveitinanabstractanddistancedway,whiletheexperienceofanenvironment asplaceistoperceiveitinanembodiedandcloseway.IntermsofDovey(1993), spacecanbecalledgeometricspacewhereasplacelivedspace.Viewedin thislight,theexperienceofschoolasspacereferstotheconceivingoftheschoolasa geometricspaceexternalandcommontoeveryonewithin.Intheexperienceofschool asspace,therelationshipbetweenindividualsandtheenvironmentisestrangedand indifferent.Bycontrast,theexperienceofschoolasplaceisbasedonthe interrelationshipbetweenindividualsandthesurroundings.AccordingtoDovey (1993),therearetwofeaturesofthelivedspace:valueladenandopportunityladen. Livedspaceorplaceisladenwithmeaningandmemory(Dovey,1993,p.250)in ourview,meaningandmemoryaresignificantelementsof intimacy.Ameaningful memoryofaplaceconsistsinonesinvolvement,engagement,andactionuponthis place,activelyorpassively.Itisthusunderstandablethatonecouldnotrememberall theplaceswhereonehasbeen.Thememorabilityofoneplaceisbecauseithasa certainmeaningorvaluewhichtheothersiteslack.Thusalivedspaceismore personal andidiosyncraticthangeometricspace(Dovey,1993,p.250).Aschoolas 7

placereferstoitsdistinctivenessfromotherschoolsorsites.Itisnotonlyaplace whereleaningoccursbutalsoaplacewhereintimacycouldbeestablishedandsensed. Thatiswhyacramschoolorlearningonline(inthecyberspace)cannevertakethe placeofaschoolasplace.Opportunityladenplacereferstoaplacewhereonecan actandtherebyproducesomechange.Ifnochangecouldbeeffecteduponan environment,thenthissiteseemstohavenomeaning. Thus,aschoolisprimarily viewedasaplacewherestudentsarechangedforexample,students learningrefers tothechangeoftheirknowledge.However,aschoolmustbechangedinsome respectsbystudents,otherwiseitisnodifferentfromanysitesintheworld.This changecouldbestudents responsetoteachers,staffsor otherstudents,orany physicalactivitiessuchasgrowingaplantonthecampus. Moreover,namingisanacttoilluminate,tomakevisibleacertainobjectthat couldhavebeeninvisibletous.Thenameofaplaceistomakeitasitedifferentfrom othersbyestablishingaparticularrelationshipwithit.Tonameaplaceistocreatean interactionandaffirmtheinterrelationshipbetweentheindividualandthe environment.Itseemsthattheschoolhasalreadybeennamedsothatitisnot necessaryforanyteacherorstudenttonameitwhenoneenterstheschool.Insome respects,alltheschoolshavenameswhentheyareestablished.Buttheofficial nameisanabstractanddetachedsymbolandwhatthissymbolrepresentsisan objectiveandindifferentspacetoone.Onecouldgivenewmeaningstothisname whenoneactsasaparticipatory subjectatschool,whileatthesametimetheschool turnsintoanintimateplaceabundantwithpeculiarandpersonal senses.Thenaming ofalivedplaceisnottoestablishaunitaryrelationbecauselivedplacetakesona differentcharacteratdifferentscales(NorbergschulzcitedinDovey,1993,p.249). Thedifferentscalesofoneplacemightincludevariouslevelsofsmallobjects, furniture,buildingandlandscape.Thusnamingaschoolmaycontaintheconstitution oftherelationshipwiththings,creaturesandotherpersonsintheschool,the architecture,thecampusandthecommunitywheretheschoolissituated.Tonamea placeconsistsintheconstructionofmeaninginmultiplelayersofinterrelationships. Namingisaprocessoftheintertwiningmeaningconstructionbackwardsand forwardsbetweenthesubjectandthesurroundings.Theprocessofthe meaningconstructioncanbeunderstoodastheinterweavingofawebofmeanings. Thetighterandfirmerthewebisweaved,thericherthemeaningisinvolvedandthe moreintimatetheplacebecomes.Themeaningofschoolasplacereliesonthe interactionbetweenoneandonesschool.Afterall,aschoolasintimateand meaningfulisnotmerelyanabstractspacebutanauthenticplacewherestudentsare abletolocatethemselves.Oneneedstoknowandunderstandthemeaningof aplace andthenbeabletolocateoneself.Throughtheselflocating,itispossibletosituate andpositoneselfinaplace.Theselflocatingisaprocesstoconceivethemultiple, transientanddynamicmeaningsofoneselfandonessurroundingsandthentomakea decisionaboutwheretoanchoroneself althoughthedecisionchangeswithtime. Tofindwhereoneisandhowoneislocatedisajourneyforperceivingand constructingwhooneis.Thustheplacenessisintriguinglyrelatedtotheconstruction ofselfnessandselfidentity.Abetterschool,viewedinthislight,shouldbetheplace providingmorepossibilitiesforstudentstolocatethemselvesfromvariouslevels. Then,howareteacherstohelpstudentslocatethemselvesinschoolasplace or,to nametheirownschoolasplace? Toencouragestudents(especiallyprimaryschoolpupilswhomayneedmore supportfromadultsduringtheprocessoflearning)toconstructtheauthenticmeaning ofschool,therearetwoaspectsofnaming:thefirst oneistonamevialanguagethe 8

secondoneistonamethroughonesownembodiedexperience.Whatneedsattention isthatthefirstaspectofnamingisnoprioritytothesecondone. Althoughtherelationshipofthename(signifier)totheplaceorthing(signified) isarbitrary(Stables,2005),namingisalinguisticoperation.Thissigncouldbe articulatedbyoralsoundsorwrittenwordsorboth.Thusnamingisconnectedwith theabilitytouselanguage.However,thereisaproblemrelatedtothelearningof (place)names.Thetransmissionofknowledge(includingnamesofplaces,objectsand soon)toahugedegreedependsonlanguage,especiallywrittenlanguage.What cannotbewrittendown,turningintoapartoforalnarrative,isliabletobeclassified intothecategoriesof savage,primitive,underdeveloped,backward,alienated, composedofopinions,customs,authority,prejudice,ignorance,ideology(Lyotard, 1984,p27). Inbrief,oralknowledgeistakenasinferiortowrittenknowledgeand marginalisedduringthelearningprocess.Namingandlearningtonameinschoolare likelytobetaughtinthewayofusingabstractandwritablewordsorsigns.Thatis why,asmentionedabove,theanthropologist,whohasbeeneducated(ortrained)to thinkinahighlyabstractway,takesthegeometricspacepriortolivedplaceduring theprocessoflearningplacenames.Whatneedsnoticeisthatwearenottorejectthe abstractwayoflearningtotally,butratherthefragmentarinessoflearningcausedby thepartialstress.However,thisunsoundpartialityinschoolsresultsinthe subordinationofthenonwrittenknowledgeandlearningincludinglearningthrough embodiedexperience.Embodiedexperienceistheunderpinningofthesecondkindof namingthatistheactivitytoacquaintoneselfwiththeplacethroughlivingit.As MerleuPonty(2003,p.295)states,Theconditionofourfirstperceptionsbeing spatialisthatitshouldhavereferredtosomeorientationwhichprecededit.itmust, then,havefoundusalreadyatworkinaworld.Bodilyexperienceisthegroundfor ustodevelopthespatialrelationshipwiththesurroundingsandthenaplaceforus couldbepossiblyfound,couldbenamed.Theplace,namedthroughourown experience,istheenvironmentwefindourplacein,i.e.theplacewelocateourselves. Therefore,tograspthemeaningofaschoolasplaceinitsfullestsense,students shouldbeencouragedtosense,feel,perceive,conceive,speculate,imagineschooland therebyactandcreateinandtowardsitthroughasmanykindsofexperienceas possible.Overall,itmaybeconcludedfromthepreviousexplorationthattonamevia bodilymovementsandlinguisticactivitiesistolocateorrelocateoneselfinthe directionlessspace,whereweareeasytobelost. Atlast,someissueswhichareworthfurtherexplorationwillberaisedhere withoutfulldiscussionduetothelimitationsonthispaper.Spaceandplaceare proposedasthepivotsinthispapertoinvestigatethegeophenomenological experienceofenvironmentandofschool.However,ithasbeenpointedoutthatthere aredifferentlevelsofgeositesaccordingtovariousexperiencesofvariousshadesof meanings.Amongthegeositeshomemightbetheoneindicatingtheplaceinthe fullestintimacy.Viewedinthislight,somequestionsrelatedtothesenseofschoolas placeareworthconsideration:firstofall,homeistheplacewherepeoplefeelsafe andwarm.Itseemsthatifschoolcouldbeaplacelikehome,studentscouldlearnin theambienceofease,freedomandsafety.But,canaschoolbesensedasaplaceas home?Andhow?Home,insomerespects,istheplacesupportingourprivacyas muchaspossible,howcouldaschool,anapparentlypublicspace,carry themeaning ofaprivateplace?SomehintscouldbefoundinHeideggerswriting:Thetruck driverisathomeonthehighway,buthedoesnothavehissheltertheretheworking womanisathomeinthespinningmill,butdoesnothaveherdwellinglacetherethe chiefengineerisathomeinthepowerstation,buthedoesnotdwellthere 9

(Heidegger,1971,p.145).Although wemightnottotallyagreewithhowHeidegger solvestheproblemsby etymologicalargumentations(Stables,forthcoming),yet inspiringarehisquestions.Wecouldproposeasimilarquestion:Isitpossiblefor studentstobeathomeinschoolswithoutdwellingthere?Forthisquestion,thatis anotherstory.

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