Ethics of Care - A dilemma or a challenge in education?

Year: 2006

Author: Bergmark, Ulrika, Alerby, Eva

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Daily there are a vast number people within educational systems around the world. The school can be regarded as a meeting place for both adults and children with different backgrounds and expectations. A meeting between humans means for example that we are talking and acting together. Consciously or unconsciously one of the factors that govern our actions are our values - the morals or ethics one has.

The aim of this paper is to elucidate, interpret and understand ethical situations in a Swedish secondary school. To develop an understanding of this, teachers were invited to formulate in writing their reflections on ethical situations in their profession. The phenomenology of the life-world is the theoretical basis in this study.

During the analysis of the empirical data different themes gradually crystallised, and the picture of ethical situations in a learning community that emerged consists of three themes: Relations to the Other, Conflicts of Values, Ethical Maturity. The findings are discussed according to the philosophers Emanuel Levinas and Nel Noddings. The comprehensive understanding of the results is thatn the teachers are trying to achieve ethics of care. Finally we raise the question if ethics of care can be considered as a dilemma or a challenge in education.

Key words: ethics, learning, teachers, reflections, care