Sunday, April 10, 2016

Compassion and Care in Curriculum

The other day I came across this blog post by George Veletsianos (the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology) in which he talked about his thoughts about how we should be including "compassion, kindness, and care" in digital learning.   He writes that he is no talking about overtly teaching compassion, etc, rather,  "I’m more concerned here with how to embed compassion in our practice – in our teaching, in our learning design processes, the technologies that we create." He goes on to list several questions he is thinking about. After over 35 years as an educator, I firmly believe that relationships are vital to meaningful learning. This was/is true in any level in K-12 and in higher ed, and in any role. I have been a classroom teacher, an ICT leader, and a school administrator, and now a teacher educator. George's questions are interesting to contemplate. How can we include compassion in our course design? As I begin to think about my course syllabi for next year, it is something I will have to think about. The work of Noddings can be useful in thinking about this as well. Noddings (2012) wrote: "A climate in which caring relations can flourish should be a goal for all teachers and educational policymakers. In such a climate, we can best meet individual needs, impart knowledge, and encourage the development of moral people."  With the world in its current state - from the hatred we see between people not even known to each other, to the often disgusting online commentary on every topic under the sun, a little bit of compassion, care, and empathy would go a long way. 

Perhaps we need to embed a pedagogy of care and compassion in our work as educators? 

Noddings, N. (2012). The caring relation in teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 38(6), 771-781.

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