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'Bringing more than I contain': ethics, curriculum and the pedagogical demand for altered egos

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Building from the notion that learning occasions an 'ontological' violence, this paper examines the ethical relations implicated in pedagogy and curriculum. In particular, it explores ways in which pedagogy is rooted in a demand for students to alter their egos, and, thereby, draws attention to the delicate nature of the teaching-learning relationship. Appealing to the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, it discusses how ethical, non-violent relations are made possible in the day-to-day encounters between teachers and students. A reading of one of Melanie Klein's case studies highlights the specific ways teachers participate in ego-alteration at the same time as they participate in conditions for establishing ethical relations. The paper concludes with a discussion of these conditions and the role that curriculum plays in responsible teaching.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-07-01

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