A critical reflexive model: Working with life stories in health promotion education
In this paper a critical reflexive model is described and applied to life stories of tertiary education students doing a masters in health promotion. At the heart of the process is the dialogical space where relational reflexivity is facilitated and around which the narrative story is developed. Examples from tertiary education are given to illustrate how working reflexively with life stories increases critical thinking and a sense of identity, belonging and agency. The approach is holistic in that it connects new knowledge to lived experience. It is based on a social constructionist worldview that uses a narrative lens which recognises that our knowledge is continuously constructed in context and in interaction with others. One way to understand ourselves and others is to understand our own and each other’s stories. The model which facilitates this process involves four iterative loops: deconstructing power in the collective; mapping values and identity; negotiating agency; and rendering accountable performance.
Bandura, A. 2001. Social Cognitive Theory: An Agentic Perspective. Annual Review Psychology, 52: 1-6.
Biesta, G. and Tedder, M. 2007. Agency and learning in the lifecourse: Towards an ecological perspective, Studies in the Education of Adults, 39(2): 132-149.
Bohm, D. 1996. On Dialogue, Edited by Lee Nichol. London: Routledge.
Cunliffe, A. 2008. Orientations to Social Constructionism: Relationally Responsive Social Constructionism and its Implications for Knowledge and Learning. Management Learning, 39(2): 123-139.
Dhunpath, R. 2000. Life history methodology: “narradigm” regained. Qualitative Studies in Education, 13(5): 543-551.
Door, V. M. 2014. Critcal Pedagogy and Reflexivity: The Issue of Ethical Consistency, International Jounal of Critical Pedagogy 5(2): 88-99.
Fook, J., White, S. and Gardner, F. 2006. Critical reflection: a review of contemporary literature and understandings. In S. White, J. Fook and F. Gardner (Eds), Critical reflections in health and social care, 3 – 20. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Frank, A.W. 2010. Letting stories breath: A socio-narratology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Gergen, K. J. 1996. Social Psychology as Social Construction: The Emerging Vision. For The Message of Social Psychology: Perspectives on Mind in Society. C.
McGarty and A. Haslam. Eds. Oxford: Balckwell.
Gergen, K. J. 1999. An invitation to social construction. London: Sage Publication.
Gergen, K. J. 2009. Relational being: Beyond self and community. Oxford University Press.
Gilbert, A. and Sliep, Y. 2009. Reflexivity in the practice of social action: from self-to inter- relational reflexivity. South African Journal of Psychology 39(4): 468-479.
Holstein, J. A. and Gubrium, J. F. 2011. The Constructionist Analytics of Interpretive Practice. In N.K. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Los Angeles: Sage Publications,
Mangadu, T. 2014. Empowering Health Promotion Students on the Texas-Mexico Border Through Digital Storytelling: Implications for Public Health in Vulnerable Communities. TPHA Journal 66(3).
Morgan, S. and R. F. Dennehy. 2004. Using stories to reframe the social construction of reality: A trio of activities. Journal of Management Education 28(3), 372-389.
Naidu, T. and Sliep, Y. 2011. Contextual Reflexivity: Towards Contextually Relevant Research with South African HIV/AIDS Home-Based Care Volunteers. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 10(4): 431-443.
Rule, P. 2004. Dialogic Spaces: Adult education projects and social engagements, International Journal of Lifelong Education 23(4): 319-334.
Sakamoto, I. and Pitner, R. O. 2005. Use of Critical Conciousness in Anti-Oppressive Social Work Practice: Disentangling Power Dynamics at Personal and Structural Levels, British Journal of Social Work 35: 435-452.
Scott, J. W. 1992. Experience. In Feminists Theorize the Political. J. Butler and J. W. Scott. Eds. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc.
Skovdal, M. and Abebe, T. 2012. Reflexivity and Dialogue: Methodological and Socio- Ethical Dilemmas in Research with HIV-Affected Children in East Africa. Ethics, Policy and Environment 15(1): 77-96.
Sliep, Y. 2003. Building Partnerships in responding to vulnerable children: A rural African community context. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work 2: 56-66.
Sliep, Y. 2010. Teaching for transformation: the use of narrative metaphor to develop reflexive professionals. Acta Academica: Teaching of psychology in South Africa: Supplementum 2: 109-132.
Sliep, Y. 2016. Poetry as dialogue: Navigating the storms. In Formenti, L. and West, L. (eds) Stories that make a difference: Exploring the collective, social and political potential of narratives in adult education research (172-180). Italy: Pensa, MultiMedia.
Sliep, Y. and Gilbert, A. 2006. Promoting Inter-Relational Reflexivity with Psychosocial Workers in Community Work: A Case Study from Burundi. Journal of Psychology in Africa 2: 293-302.
Sliep, Y., and Kotze, E. 2007. Weaving a learning community by the telling, deconstructing and re-telling of life stories. In Kobus Maree (Ed.) Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative career counselling: 138-150. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Sliep, Y and Norton, L. 2016. Trees, poems and drama to create reflexive spaces for peace building in schools, in Sylvester Mpahosa & Alphonse Keasley (eds.), Peace education for violence prevention in fragile African societies: What’s going to make a difference? 243 – 274, Africa Institute of South Africa, Pretoria.
Sliep, Y., K. Weingarten and A. Gilbert. 2004. Narrative Theatre as an interactive community approach to mobilizing collective action in Northern Uganda. Families, Systems and Health. 22(3): 306-20.
Suarez-Ortega, M. 2013. Performance, Reflexivity, and Learning Through Biographical- Narrative Research. Qualitative Inquiry 19(3): 189-200.
Tamboukou, M, M. Andrews and C Squire. 2013. Introduction: What is narrative research. In Doing Narrative Research, 2nd ed. Andrews, M, Squire, C. and M. Tamboukou, eds, London: Sage Publications.
Waghid, Y. 2002. Knowledge production and higher education transformation in South Africa: Towards reflexivity in university teaching, research and community service. Higher Education 43(4): 457-488.
Copyright (c) 2018 Lynn Margaret Norton, Yvonne Sliep
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This journal is an open access journal, and the authors and journal should be properly acknowledged, when works are cited.
Authors, copyright holders, may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.
A copy of the authors' publishers version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: This is an electronic version of an article published in SAJHE, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX “XXX", DOI. Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/SAJHE) may be found.
Authors publishers version, affiliated with the Stellenbosch University will be automatically deposited in the University Institutional Repository SUNScholar.
Articles as a whole, may not be re-published with another journal.
The following license applies:
Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0