Why should an ethics of care matter in education?
Joorst, Jerome P.
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When a black 2nd-year student educator gets chased away from a school whilst doing his teaching practice for hair ‘not setting an appropriate example to learners’, the incident elicits questions about the rights of student educators during teaching practice, as well as the extent to which universities and schools care for, support and prepare student educators for the realities of schooling in South Africa. I situate the article in Transformation in Higher Education and the discourses of moral education concerning universities’ preparation of student educators in conjunction with schools in South Africa. The purpose in this article is to critically evaluate the neoliberal regulatory environment that frames education in general and how this has led to ‘uncaring’ environments in which student educators must operate during the execution of their teaching practice. I applied an ethics-of-care- approach to conceptually discuss the central role that care should play in the professional development of student educators. A decline in the level of care for student educators during teaching practice by universities and schools has an increasingly negative impact on their professional preparation which might lead to increased teacher attrition and discourage new entrants to the profession. To achieve the kind of care among teachers we envisage through education, universities and schools will have to re-examine the role of care for student educators during teaching practice.