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Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect

On the Lives and Education of Children

Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio

Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect presents a wide variety of concepts from scholars and practitioners who discuss pedagogies of kindness, an alternative to the «no excuses» ideology now dominating the way that children are raised and educated in the U.S. today. The fields of education, and especially early childhood education, include some histories and perspectives that treat those who are younger with kindness and respect. This book demonstrates an informed awareness of this history and the ways that old and new ideas can counter current conditions that are harmful to both those who are younger and those who are older, while avoiding the reconstitution of the romantic, innocent child who needs to be saved by more advanced adults. Two interpretations of the upbringing of children are investigated and challenged, one suggesting that the poor do not know how to raise their children and thus need help, while the other looks at those who are privileged and therefore know how to nurture their young. These opposing views have been discussed and problematized for more than thirty years. Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect investigates the issue of why this circumstance has continued and even worsened today.
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Chapter Six: “When I explain it, you’ll understand”: Children’s Voices on Educational Care


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“When I explain IT, YOU’LL understand”

Children’s Voices on Educational Care


If I made the most caring school I could imagine, well, I’d make a school where the teachers were fun but strict—you know, like, they want you to do your work. But they aren’t yelling or giving you busy work. The teachers would care about you and give you respect. Like, they would ask how you’re doing. The school would have important programs, like a no bullying program and a program to help with racism. The kids would be nice and not bully and they’d be able to have some classes they chose. The teachers would teach interesting, important things and let the kids do presentations to show what they know in cool ways. There’d be gym every day, or at least a way to move around a lot. If you got in trouble they would be nice again the next day. Raymond, 6th grader

Fig 1. Child’s representation of caring teaching. ← 81 | 82 →


Children are far wiser than many people give them credit for. They are observant, intuitive, and interested in the everyday happenings of their world. Adults in all corners of the educational landscape—practitioners, leaders, academics, parents, and concerned citizens would be wise to listen to children’s ideas and understandings of what their lived...

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