We all share one thing in common: a lifeworld.

As a concept, the idea or philosophy of 'lifeworlds' can be traced back to sociological thinking in different parts of the world. It is used to help us understand the sub-conscious norms that we each bring to any given situation or relationship. These norms include our lived experiences and our received wisdom or ‘what we think we know’. A number of factors can influence this including age, gender, language, ethnicity, family, wealth, education, location, religion, freedom, travel, health, career, and security. 

We have found that it is useful to think about our lifeworld using the metaphor of a backpack – an invisible load that you carry around with you whether you want to or not. You can’t shed the backpack, but you can unpack it, remind yourself of what you’re carrying and why, rearrange it, and of course add to it.

Connecting to our lifeworlds is important for understanding the world around us and for our agency to respond to, and shape this. That may sound simple, even obvious, but we are rarely challenged (or have the time) to take a deep look at ourselves; to ask how we construct our understandings of the world; and to identify and reflect upon our value systems. Given the opportunity, such a process has shown itself to be very meaningful. Those who have participated in this comment that it can help to:
  - engage with complex societal issues;
  - recognise the diversity and opportunity present in our own settings;
  - enhance critical literacy skills and enable the development of a critical voice;
  - build confidence and self-worth for both individuals and communities;
  - prioritise solidarity through better understanding our ‘commonality of difference’;
  - challenge stereotypes and create new forms of mutual understanding;
  - recognise, embrace and challenge our own cognitive and emotional bias;
  - deal with controversial issues in a safe environment;
  - encourage divergent thinking and creative practice.

We believe that transformational learning is greatly aided by becoming aware of our lifeworlds and integrate this into all of our professional learning opportunities whether with schools, organisations, communities or individuals. 
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