Original Research - Special Collection: Life Orientation or Life Disorientation

Empathetic-reflective-dialogical re-storying: A teaching–learning strategy for life orientation

Janet Jarvis
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 17, No 1 | a1077 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v17i1.1077 | © 2021 Janet Jarvis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 May 2021 | Published: 30 June 2021

About the author(s)

Janet Jarvis, Discipline of Life Orientation Education, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


This article presents a teaching–learning strategy that has been employed in recent small-scale research projects at a South African higher education institution, and more specifically, in the School of Education. Bachelor of Education Honours students enrolled for a module entitled Contemporary Issues in Life Orientation participated in the studies in 2017 and 2018. The introduction of empathetic-reflective-dialogical re-storying as a teaching–learning strategy created a space for these male and female students to explore their self-dialogue in relation to their understandings and lived experiences of human rights issues, and in this case, gender inequality. This teaching–learning strategy created the opportunity for pre-service teachers to become agents of their own learning as they considered entrenched beliefs and worldviews and co-constructed (re-storied) previously held narratives. By sharing their self-narratives in a community in conversation and then in a community in dialogue with their ‘other’, the possibility existed for creating new knowledges. This strategy, serving a decolonisation agenda, adopts a transdisciplinary approach. It encourages reflection and reflexivity that can transform technicist classroom practice into potentially transformative classroom praxis.


decolonisation; empathetic-reflective-dialogical re-storying; life orientation; transdisciplinarity; classroom praxis.


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