Challenging Fear and Hate: Caring and Compassion as Essential Components of a Critical Pedagogy School Curriculum

Challenging Fear and Hate: Caring and Compassion as Essential Components of a Critical Pedagogy School Curriculum

César A. Rossatto (The University of Texas at El Paso, USA) and Jennifer L. Mansour (The University of Texas at El Paso, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5268-1.ch009

Abstract

We are living in times of neo-fascism where fear and hate are the dominant discourses. To counteract such challenges, caring and compassion are crucial components of a public school curriculum that promote humanization and empowerment. This kind of curriculum is missing in public schools. Mass shootings and acts of cruelty in the United States affect children the most. Educating our youth on action-based compassion is vital for critical pedagogy in teacher education programs. The authors question what it means to be human and believe that safe spaces where we can be ourselves and feel good being with others is an ontological necessity. Hence, this chapter expands on these claims and examines why and how this type of curriculum is essential for our multicultural communities.
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Background

Why Should we Care About Caring?

Why should we pay attention to caring? This question asked by Nell Noddings (2013) in her book Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics and Moral Education is an important question to ask when it comes to education. Why should we care about caring? In our current world, it seems that there is a lack of compassion and caring as a whole. But why? And how do we solve for this? Most teachings in the preschool and elementary years include some sort of lesson on sharing and caring and being kind. However, what children see and what they are taught is not often the same. Therefore, modeling caring is important. However, why stop there? While modeling is important, we need to actively teach caring in our schools to young people. Teaching children how to actively care and show compassion for others while they are young and in school will help in making our future a more compassionate one. The key here is to be active and to allow children to become active agents in brightening the future.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Caring: Showing concern for others.

Empowerment: Teaching and learning practices that affirm students’ identity and citizenship for self-determination, where they reclaim their political agency and exercise it.

Humanizing: Pedagogical experience that assists people to regain their dignity, self-respect, and human rights through social justice.

Compassion: Empathizing with others and understanding what it feels to be in others’ “shoes.”

Critical Consciousness: The ability to name and call out systems of oppression through critical dialog and reflection that promotes social transformation.

Dehumanizing: Taking away people’s humanity through oppression.

Action-Based Compassion: The ability to practice compassion actively.

Critical Pedagogy: Educational experience that promotes critical consciousness in schools, which empowers students to question reality to become agents of social transformation.

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