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ERIC Number: EJ1022190
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1354-0602
Doing Good? Interpreting Teachers' Given and Felt Responsibilities for Pupils' Well-Being in an Age of Measurement
Edling, Silvia; Frelin, Anneli
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v19 n4 p419-432 2013
The purpose of this study is to theoretically discuss a specific aspect of teachers' responsibilities: their responsibility for pupils' or children's well-being. We ask two interrelated questions: firstly, how might (Swedish) teachers' sense of responsibilities for their pupils' well-being be understood in relation to ethical theory? Secondly, what does this insight bring to the discussion of teachers' professional responsibility within the global discourse of educational policy that increasingly stresses accountability and efficiency in an "age of measurement?" Education can be described as an intervention in a pupil's life, motivated by the idea that it will somehow improve it. When one implements this intervention, from a legal/political perspective, it boils down to a series of responsibilities assigned to teachers, as expressed in current policy documents. However, an exploration of empirical examples in a Swedish context of teachers' sense of responsibility for their pupils' or children's well-being, expressed in everyday situations, indicates that the matter is complex. In order to find tools with which to better understand such expressions, we turn to the field of ethics. A thorough inquiry into the various reasoning regarding responsibility reveals that responsibility as socially defined and given is not sufficient to capture the intimacy and relational uncertainties of the teachers' stories, which is why we turn to the writings of LĂ©vinas and his ethics of responsibility. His ethical language helps to capture relational processes that cannot be predefined and that are based on an infinite sense of responsibility for the other person. We continue by discussing and problematising the increasing demands for measurability and accountability in the field of teachers' professionalism. Here, we illuminate risks involved with the movement towards the fixed and calculable, since it overlooks the intricate ways in which teachers' given and felt responsibilities are woven together.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A