Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor's Name

Peter J. Cistone

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Erskine Dottin

Third Advisor's Name

George O'Brien

Fourth Advisor's Name

Tonette Rocco

Keywords

Ethic of Care, Care Ethics, Historical Case Study, Ethical Paradigms in Educational Leadership

Date of Defense

11-8-2011

Abstract

Nel Noddings’ 1984 publication, Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education was the first formal introduction of the concept of an “ethic of care”. It is a concept that stresses the importance of compassion in any relationship. For the purpose of this dissertation, the ethic of care was studied in a specific educational community.

This research focused on the role of care ethics in a secondary school (The Ransom School for Boys) from 1903 to 1974. The researcher identified this school as one that operated with an ethic of care and collected and analyzed data from historical school documents as well as from 60-90 minute individual interviews with six alumni, five retired faculty, and two administrators.

The case study addressed how students and faculty experienced care ethics within the school and how it has been maintained throughout the adult lives of alumni. An a priori coding rubric was used to examine the presence of care ethics at the Ransom School for Boys and in the adult lives of its alumni. This rubric was generated using information taken from the literature review and encompasses 36 different words to identify the presence of care ethics.

The primary research question was: How have alumni incorporated care ethics into their personal and professional lives? Secondary questions included:

  1. How did the ethic of care present itself over the span of 71 years?
  2. Was character education part of the formal curriculum at the Ransom School?
  3. Was character education part of the hidden curriculum at the Ransom School?
  4. Did the presence of care ethics support the values being taught in the home?

While there has been research done on the importance of care ethics in an educational institution, the research is void of direct evidence associated with care ethics in a school community, specifically, an all-boys, private school. Through deductive analysis, care ethics was found to be present and utilized at the school. The interviews and historical documents suggested that moral education was an integral part of the informal curriculum and helped to integrate the ethic of care within the community.

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