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Moral language and pedagogical experience

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As educators are challenged to develop a moral vocabulary of teaching, such a language needs to be sensitive to the way that pedagogical relations are lived and experienced. This exploration into the meanings of care offers a phenomenological puzzle. It concerns the relation between, on the one hand, commonly accepted and professionally received meanings of the ethical concept of care as we find it in the parental, philosophical, and curriculum literature and, on the other hand, the lived experience of caring. The language of care in the field of commerce and in the helping professions tends to pass over these subtle and deeply-felt sensibilities. It seems that for many parents and teachers caring commonly means worrying. Caring is experienced as worrying responsibility. But this worry ('sorgen' in German) is often neglected for happier or more acceptable understandings of care. This should make us wonder about what happens when language turns professional and theoretical, when it becomes charged with meanings that in everyday life are not always recognizable, and when it becomes discharged of meanings that are existentially at its very centre.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-03-01

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