How To Be A Compassionate Teacher
MetadataShow full item record
The virtue of compassion is neglected in educational discourse. Based on my own teaching experience, and supported by relevant educational literature, a general portrait of conditions, policies, and practices affecting schools is drawn showing how various pressures and directives undermine the likelihood of compassionate responses. Any attempt to remedy this situation requires clarifying the nature of compassion in order to function as a guiding norm. The search for clarity leads to an examination of certain influential philosophical accounts of compassion, starting with Aristotle, moving on to Joseph Butler and a number of contemporary philosophers. The insights gained also help to bring out the value of compassion. This aspect is examined in detail in the writings of the Dalai Lama. His way of life, and practice of compassion, serve to illustrate the way in which this virtue can have a transformative effect on human relationships. The lessons drawn from this critical inquiry into the nature and value of compassion are applied to the question of what would characterize compassionate teaching, what teachers can do to preserve compassion, and how this virtue might change the ways in which schools relate to students.