Some scholars argue that teaching is an art while others categorize it as a science, regardless of the inclination, education is undeniable a part of the humanities because knowledge is closely attached to our human experience. Throughout this course, we have been studying philosophers like Dewey and Freire who recognized not only the importance of individual experience but also accepted society as a frame for education. Understanding that teaching and learning are social processes and identifying a duty to be agents for social justice, how can we, as future educators, build a community of learners and encourage a collective perspective? For philosophers Nel Noddings and Ann Margaret Sharp the answer was clear: first, we must be profoundly caring for each other. While their focus was slightly different, both Noddings and Sharp considered compassion and consideration for each other as the base for an effective education system and as the goal of education.
For Nel Noddings, caring was essential to education to the point that from her perspective, the actual purpose of education is to raise caring human beings. In her terms, a caring relation is a reciprocal relationship where both the carer and the cared-for are actively involved. While Noddings clearly stated that there was not a specific formula for caring, she did propose a descriptive framework. According to Noddings, caring starts with engrossment where the carer directs his or her attention to the cared for, and he or she is open to truly listening to and understanding the other. Then follows motivational displacement, which is the stage where the carer experiences a sincere empathy for the other’s needs. Finally, there has to be reciprocity w...
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...s, they both placed caring as an essential part of the teacher-student relationship and as a core value in education. They believed that educators should act as role models whose responsibility is to demonstrate genuine care, promote open and productive dialogue, and ultimately discover a shared understanding as a community. As we see education through a social lens, we must aim to find a balance between valuing every individual as an indispensable contributor to society and at the same time appreciating the strength that comes from unity and combined experiences. Clearly, it is only through a caring practice that we can reach our students and begin the continuous process of teaching and learning. Thus, as future educators, we must start by building a reciprocal caring relationship with our students, where kindness and compassion bring out the humanity in all of us.
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