10 SES 01 C, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Despite authoritative and public assertions that care is a basic human need, care is a concept and practice that so far has escaped extensive attention in educational research (Goldstein & Freedman, 2003; Juujärvi et al., 2010; Mayeroff, 1971; Noddings, 1992, 2001). Also in Europe, we live in an era in which standards and accountability have monopolized educational rhetoric and led to a situation where contemporary political and public discourses on education tend to focus on issues that are largely external to teachers’ daily concerns. This may have led to reluctance in educational researchers to identify and discuss less tangible qualities like care, despite general agreement of its importance (Shussler & Collins, 2006).
To prepare teachers who will be able to draw on caring to build a strong foundation for their professional practices, we must develop teacher education programs specifically focused toward this goal. Important, researchers have found pre-service teachers struggling with issues related to caring teaching during their teacher education studies (Goldstein & Freedman, 2003; Noblit, 1993; Swick, 1999; Weinstein, 1998).
This study presents in concrete terms how student teachers are able to put pedagogical care into their professional action during their teacher education studies. It builds a synthesis of various positions that often appear separate and disconnected, even in conflict, and presents a rationale for understanding and developing an ethic of caring in teacher education. The research tasks can be addressed as follows:
1) Who are the recipients and givers of care in pedagogical situations?
2) What does caring look like in pedagogical situations?
As extensive research has shown, teachers’ successful moral and ethical action in classrooms is a complex matter (Colnerud, 2006; Hansen, 2001; Hostetler, 1997, Tirri & Husu, 2002). Theoretically, caring perspectives (Noblit, 1993; Noddings, 2001; Weinstein, 1998) provide guiding principles and norms that guide the conduct of teachers. This i) ethics of caring means sticking to ethical ideals but does not involve the vital activity of judging ‘what actually can be done in a particular situation’. Consequently, the essential question is how to translate those ethical principles into ii) caring moral practice, which often means balancing of the pros and cons of a particular pedagogical situation: teachers must take into account many different things when considering caring situations. Here, teachers have to take their stances: caring moral practice is closely bound up with the kind of persons that teachers are: their characteristics and responsible judgments they make (Husu, 2001; Toom, 2008). Teachers need situational perception (Pendlebury, 1990) to determine what types of circumstances they are in and what kind of actions those situations need. Accordingly, teachers’ caring moral action can be interpreted with the concept of iii) pedagogicalcaring policy meaning a way of prudent management or plans of action (Dzur, 2004; Husu & Toom, 2010).
By using the named three caring perspectives, this paper explores 1) student teachers’ ways of acting in pedagogical caring situations, and 2) aims at defining pedagogical caring policiesstudentteachers apply during their teacher education studies.
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