The Ethics of Care
Edited By Jeanne Adèle Kentel
Julia Ellis Someone to Talk to and Something to Talk About: Honouring Students by Supporting their Social Needs in Classrooms and Schools 91
Julia Ellis Someone to Talk to and Something to Talk About: Honouring Students by Supporting their Social Needs in Classrooms and Schools What does it mean to honour children? It means seeing them for the creatively intel- ligent people they are, respecting their personhood as their own, recognizing them as essential members of the community, and providing the fundamental nurturance they need in order to f lourish. (Cavoukian 2006: xix) Playmates, friendships, and collegial relationships with classmates and schoolmates are vital to the wellbeing and growth of students in schools. However, in the context of high residential mobility and schools that are often too big while being ethno-culturally diverse, students can experience alienation and isolation instead of the nurturance of social af filiation. In this chapter, I examine school-wide and classroom-based initiatives and practices that can provide ongoing support to students’ social needs. Such support is an important dimension of the nurture that students need in order to f lourish. The importance of students’ social relationships is well recognized and documented. Children’s play with peers is understood as a vehicle for learning, social development (Dewey 1990), and psychological healing (Landers 1998). Landers, who studied children’s needs and wellbeing in the context of violence and war, emphasized children’s need for social interac- tion. She reminds us that children’s ‘development proceeds through and because of social relationships’ (Landers 1998: 5). Similarly, Boxill (1993: 37), who studied children and homelessness, states that ‘it is relationships that define us and tell us who we...
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