Introduction: On the Beginning of Qualitative Research in Pedagogy in the Netherlands
Phenomenology + Pedagogy
In 1974 Ton Beekman introduced a new element in his course on phenomenology at the State University of Utrecht. Until then, the seminar had been focused on reading and explaining important texts on the subject, such as Gerd Brand's Die Lebenswelt. But from that moment on, attending Beekman's phenomenology course im plied truly doing phenomenology. Students were asked to write on specific themes of their own lived experience such as "Being afraid in the dark," "To fall asleep and to awake," and
... and to awake," and first-time experi ences like "My first schoolday," "My first bike," and "My first stay at another person's house"-a venture with a discernible air of subjectivity around it. What would start as an exercise in pheno menological analysis often turned into an important contribution to the knowledge of the lifeworld of children, with practical pedagogi cal implications. This is witnessed by a long list of titles of master's theses written under the supervision of Ton Beekman. Some of the different subjects elaborated in these theses are "Children at the Dentist," "Children at Play Outdoors," "Children, School Architec ture, and the School Environment," "Children and Animals," and "Experiences of Children in Social Welfare Institutions." Several doctoral dissertations in this new methodological tradition are nearing completion.