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Listening: A Virtue Account

by Suzanne Rice & Nicholas C. Burbules - 2010

Background Context: Despite its significance for learning, listening has received very little attention in the philosophy of education literature. This article draws on the philosophy and educational thought of Aristotle to illuminate characteristics of good listening. The current project is exploratory and preliminary, seeking mainly to suggest what a virtues orientation might offer in terms of understanding and fostering good listing in educational contexts.

Purpose: This work examines how listening in educational contexts may be understood when examined through an Aristotelian lens. Virtue ethics provides a systematic orientation for the analysis of a familiar but underanalyzed phenomenon: good listening.

Research Design: This is an analytic essay.

Conclusions/Recommendations: It is possible to identify characteristics of good listening, and at least some of these would almost certainly be counted among the virtues by many working within an Aristotelian framework. We have mentioned a few already�patience, tolerance, humility, and various intellectual virtues. Our aim is not to offer a new menu of virtues as a possible replacement for those advocated by others, but rather to give some sense of how virtue ethics can inform thinking about listening.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 11, 2010, p. 2728-2742
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15789, Date Accessed: 6/15/2021 12:31:54 PM

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About the Author
  • Suzanne Rice
    University of Kansas
    E-mail Author
    SUZANNE RICE teaches courses in the Departments of Curriculum and Teaching and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include topics in philosophy of education, educational policy, and curriculum studies. Her recent work appears in Learning Inquiry and Educational Studies.
  • Nicholas Burbules
    University of Illinois
    E-mail Author
    NICHOLAS C. BURBULES is Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy of education from Stanford University. Over the past 10 years, he has also held visiting professorships in Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand. His research focuses on philosophy of education; technology and education; teaching and dialogue; and critical social and political theory. He has published several books; his most recent is Showing and Doing: Wittgenstein as a Pedagogical Philosopher, coauthored with Michael Peters and Paul Smeyers (Paradigm Press).
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