Caring and human agency: foundations of an approach to teacher education

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In this thesis I make the case that teaching is a moral enterprise and that teacher education needs to reflect this understanding in its design and practice. Specifically, I argue that caring understood as lived moral practice grounded in care-ethical agency should be the central principle of teaching as a purposeful moral practice and that, hence, teacher education needs to help preservice teachers with the development of their care-ethical agency. In developing this argument, I articulate an approach to the ethics of care that responds to a hermeneutically inspired view of the human condition. In chapter 1 I argue for teaching as a moral enterprise with caring as its central principle. Furthermore, I argue for the relevance of the ethics of care as a framework for caring in teaching in order to address the moral purpose of teaching. In chapter 2 I present a critical discussion of the most prominent approach to the ethics of care. Through this discussion I argue for the need for a thorough inquiry into the human condition for a conceptualization of an ethic of care that can be used as a foundation for teacher education. In chapters 3 and 4 I address this need for a thorough inquiry and argue for a particular view on the human condition. In chapters 5 and 6 I use this view of the human condition to argue for a particular approach to the ethics of care that centralizes a hermeneutically informed and inspired moral agency. Finally, in chapter 7 I argue for central general implications of this ethic for an approach to teacher education that aims to prepare preservice teachers for teaching as a moral enterprise with caring as the central principle of moral practice.

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Faculty of Education - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)