In the article on Noddings' work, titled Nel Nodding, the Ethics of Care and Education. ( Smith M.) the author discusses some of the most salient and essential aspects of her theory and view of education. Central to all her work is the concept of care, and particularly the concept of caring-for.
Noddings was influenced by her experiences as a child of being educated by caring teachers. This resulted in her interest in teacher - student relationships. She also developed an interest in the ethical and wider moral and sociological implications of education and sees it as a "moral quest." Her work is therefore associated with the ethics of care. She sees the inculcation of ethical and responsible decision making as a vital part of the educational process. Her educational philosophy is based on the essential fact that all living beings want to be cared for.
Noddings approach is also largely feminist and experiential in that she feels that caring is a natural process and part of a life experience. She sees caring as a vital aspect of experience which influences the growth and maturation of the child and individual in a positive way. From these convictions she has developed her views of ethical caring as "a state of being ... characterized by receptivity, relatedness and engrossment." (ibid p 8)
The issue of receptivity and receptive attention is the central aspect of a caring attitude. A second factor that she emphasizes as part of the caring relationship is motivational displacement. The energy or motivational force flows from the carer to the cared. This also implies a third aspect which is the awareness or recognition on the part of the person being cared for. In essence caring is a relationship and an interconnection between the carer and the cared -for.
The article points out that Noddings makes an important distinction between caring-for and caring-about. Caring-about is not as intimate and is more general and public; for example the care and concern for those suffering in poorer countries. However, caring-about is also the foundation of a sense of justice and has an important function within society.
These views lead to an understanding of care-centered education which is central to an ethical and mature attitude in society. The home is also viewed as an important site for educational growth and development. This is not meant to reduce the importance of the school but emphasizes that the example of education in the home is invaluable as a model for the development of a caring attitude in education in general. Noddings therefore suggests that schools should include education for home life in their curriculum. This is an important aspect which also resonates in the second article.
Noddings strongly emphasizes that education should develop within a holistic framework which emphasizes the principles of relationship and reciprocity. This is in contrast to the contemporary education system which is directed towards skills and business acumen. This means that schools should, in her view, move beyond a narrow emphasis on just meeting curriculum requirements. Noddings emphasis on holistic education leads to the four main components of a care-based system of education. These are modeling, dialogue, practice and confirmation. Modeling for example means going beyond the narrow approach to schools curriculum and emphasizes a more experiential, integrated and relational way of teaching. In the same vein, the dialogue component is also seen as an aspect that encourages and develops interaction between student and teacher through feedback and fosters an holistic approach.
The article entitled What does it mean to educate the whole child by Nel Noddings tends to build on the points that have been made above and presents some interesting and, I think, essential points for the contemporary educationist and administrator.
In this article the author essentially criticizes the view that education is only about imparting skills and practical knowledge. This is too narrow a view of the meaning and function of education and leaves out moral, ethical, social and interactive foundations of education. Most importantly of all, as the previous article stressed, education is a holistic enterprise and should not be reduced to mere skills or categories of achievement. . The strictly utilitarian approach to education and teaching…