Making sense of education: sensory ethnography and visual impairment

Article English OPEN
Morris, Ceri (2017)

Education involves the engagement of the full range of the senses in the accomplishment of tasks and the learning of knowledge and skills. However both in pedagogical practices and in the process of educational research, there has been a tendency to privilege the visual. To explore these issues, detailed sensory ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in further education colleges, investigating the experiences of visually impaired students who use their non-visual senses and embodied actions to achieve their learning. The study found that the full sensory schemas of the students were not always appreciated or accessed by tutors, resulting in lost learning opportunities. Whilst particularly relevant for visually impaired students, these findings have implications for pedagogy for all students. Further the study highlighted the significance of sensory ethnography as a tool to explore the processes of teaching and learning.
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