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"Grow by Looking": From Moral Perception to Pedagogical Responsibility


by Barbara S. Stengel & Mary E. Casey — 2013

To teach for instrumental and innovative growth for both student and teacher is not simply a technical challenge. It is a moral task, requiring intimacy in the service of developing autonomy. It involves moral sensitivity and moral perception in prompting and framing responsible pedagogical action. It is an emotionally fraught enterprise, one that runs headlong into the human resistance to development and growth (Bion, 1994). What follows is an uncovering of this pedagogical responsibility. As we shall show, the way in to the moral dimensions of a teacher’s work is the same path that leads to academic effectiveness. Taking the moral seriously is not a diversion from the preparation and development of effective teachers, nor is it an added consideration; it is central to the very possibility of responsive and responsible education.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 112. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 13, 2013, p. 116-135
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18320, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 1:22:30 PM

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About the Author
  • Barbara Stengel
    Vanderbilt University
    E-mail Author
    BARBARA S. STENGEL is Professor of the Practice of Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and author, with Alan Tom, of Moral Matters: Five Ways to Develop the Moral Life of Schools. Her current research focuses on moral and emotional dimensions of education, especially the role of fear in teaching/learning interaction. Recent publications have appeared in Studies in Philosophy and Education and Educational Philosophy and Theory.
  • Mary Casey
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    MARY E. CASEY is an independent educational consultant in Cambridge, MA where she also serves as adjunct faculty for Tufts University and for the Harvard University Extension School. Her current focus is on children’s and adolescents’ moral development.
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