media release

Ethics of care pioneer shares ideas on education

November 13, 2011

Wanda Cassidy, 778.782.4484, 778.836.8364 (cell);
Ann Chinnery, 778.782.8123, 604.817.7159 (cell);
Kumari Beck, 778.782.8599, 604.649.2197 (cell);
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017, 604.209.5770 (cell);

Note: Noddings is available for interviews briefly after her talk in Surrey and prior to her talk in Burnaby.

Nel Noddings, a pioneer in the theory and practice of the ethics of care in schools, will visit Simon Fraser University on Nov. 16 to promote peace education and its potential role in transforming classrooms.

Noddings will meet with teacher education students at SFU’s Surrey campus from 10:30 – 11:20 a.m. (rm 2600) and later in Burnaby from 5 – 6:30 p.m. (rm 126 Halpern Centre) to discuss her philosophy and how it has evolved over the past five decades.

Kel McDowell, a recent education graduate whose doctoral research focused on the ethics of care, will facilitate the Burnaby dialogue.

One of educational philosophy’s most influential leaders, Noddings is a professor at Columbia University and a professor emerita at Stanford University.

Her 1984 book Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education and others, including The Challenge to Care in Schools (1992), Happiness and Education (2003) and The Maternal Factor: Two Paths to Morality (2010) have helped shape educational thought and practice.

Noddings’s work inspired a group of education professors at SFU to carry out their own research in the field and work towards changing school priorities and practices.

They recently completed a study with teachers and administrators from several Lower Mainland school districts who applied ethics of care practices in their respective schools, with significant results.

The study is the subject of an award winning DVD called Dare to Care in Schools.

“Noddings’ work has been influential in redirecting schools towards what is really important in the education of our children,” says Cassidy, who is also a consultant to a school for high-need, at-risk students.

“It’ not enough to teach the content of subject areas. Educators need to build positive relationships with students and cultivate a school climate where caring for others is modelled, practiced and confirmed.”

Cassidy’s own research on cyber-bullying has moved from looking at bullying online to examining online caring. She is currently applying Noddings’ ethic of care principles as a framework for examining solutions to cyber-bullying.

The ethics of care theme has been introduced into many of the Faculty of Education’s existing courses and is highlighted in its teacher education programs.

SFU educational philosopher Ann Chinnery, whose research focuses on teacher education, notes that Noddings’ work “has played a vital role in the preparation of teachers for work in increasingly diverse classrooms.” More than 240 students have participated in an ethics of care workshop offered by colleague Kumari Beck.


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