Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William F. Pinar


In this study an attempt was made at understanding contemporary thought and application of phenomenological research to the field of curriculum and instruction. More specifically, it sought to identify a place and need for a methodology in curriculum research that exposes and clarifies the dynamics of pedagogy as a result of investigating the existential/ontological nature of pedagogical activity. In accomplishing this, the works of two major North American phenomenological curriculum theorists, T. Tetsuo Aoki and Max van Manen were examined. The work of these two significant contemporary curriculum theorists was used due to the international recognition their seminal phenomenologically oriented research activities in curriculum has received. The work of van Manen and Aoki was not only examined for its theoretical foundations and principal themes, but was also used as the guide to a modest phenomenological investigation by the author into the interpretation given to the phenomenon of experiencing "knowledge" by thirty-three Developmental Reading students from Louisiana State University. This examination of the study was prefaced by a review of three theoretical emphases from which the research of reading has been approached. This examination of the field of reading included a positing by the author of the necessity and benefits a phenomenological perspective of reading can offer to its curriculum development and instruction. Based on this discussion and the work of van Manen and Aoki, the phenomenological analysis of these students' written responses to the reading of the novel Flowers For Algernon provided the researcher with the basis for several recommendations to curriculum development and instructional approaches in teaching reading to developmental education students. The conclusion of this study found that phenomenology, as part of an eclectic research methodology, can uniquely contribute to curriculum research and allows for the creation of a more "lifeworld sensitive" pedagogical praxis.