Educating to Care

Luigina Mortari


The root of the ecological crisis lies in an ethic of nature consumption. In order to reconstruct our cultural framework, it is necessary to cultivate another ethical approach, an ethic of care. It is the responsibility of school to encourage students to learn how to care for not only the human world, but also for the natural world. This paper is based on the hypothesis that it is possible to develop the ethical disposition to care for by practising an ethic of care in the first person. In the phenomenological-hermeneutic framework, however, it is not sufficient to practice care; students have to be engaged in pondering and interpreting their experience of caring for in order to construct for themselves the meaning of their lived experience. With this in mind, I organized a year long environmental education project for students aged 6 to 10 in a rural school which involved students not only in doing things but also in thinking about their experience. Working from a socio-constructivist perspective, I made use of discussions and reflective writing. This paper presents phenomenological research on this experience.

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