An Analytical Critique, Deconstruction, and Dialectical Transformation and Development of the Living Educational Theory Approach

  • Alan Serper

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis critically analyses, reconstructs and deconstructs the Living Educational Theory (LET) approach. It examines, challenges and modifies it, dialectically transforms it and offers a more suitable alternative to it. Whilst LET has not been well received in academia for two decades, this thesis is being written at a point in time when LET has greater recognition and influence. The thesis is composed of three parts. The first part examines and reconstructs the LET approach as a theoretical possibility and a practical methodological and heuristic approach. It introduces the LET approach and its key features, components, intentions and practices. It examines and interrelates the writings of the developers of that approach and its history and development. It also relates that approach to educational, action, reflective practice, practitioner and ontological research and the work and educational development of this author. The second part criticises, deconstructs and transforms the LET approach and proposes an alternative heuristic tool, solution and approach. It criticises the claim of living educational theorists that LET is an improved approach to the theorisation of a human existence and the educational, ontological, professional and epistemological development of practitioners. As well as criticising the new directions which the LET approach has recently taken, it introduces an alternative educational action research heuristic tool and approach that is based on self-dialectical reflective enquiry. The proposed alternative is based on creative and auto-phenomenological writing, self-dialectical and cathartic logging, public blogging and enquiring-within-writing logging into the question: how do I lead a more meaningful existence in the world for myself? It seeks to transform the LET approach into a deeper ontological, auto-phenomenological, and self-therapeutic auto-analysis, self-reevaluation and auto-empowerment. The third part concludes the thesis and reflects on my learning from my engagement with the LET approach and my hopes and intentions for the future.
Date of Award1 Aug 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJill Porter (Supervisor)


  • critical psychology
  • dialectics
  • ontological security
  • living educational theory
  • ontology
  • dialectical action research

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