What Is Care Theory?

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Noddings and Care Theory

Definition of Care Theory

Care theory is the belief that people present ethics and virtues through the loving and caring interactions between themselves and the ones they love. These interactions do not necessarily occur between parent and child; they may happen between teacher and student. Theorists believe that the choice of care begins at birth as an interaction between caregiver and the cared for, and this interaction is commonly practiced into the cared for’s adult life. They say that the care experience is presented in the way a person treats and pays attention to the needs of others. Not only for the care of other human beings, it may also include the care of animals, nature, and a person’s global environment. Care theorists believe it necessary for an adult to teach a child how to give and receive love and care. They feel that it is important to demonstrate an appreciation for the cared for’s needs so that he will see how to properly respond when acting as care givers to others and that care is the foundation from which ethical decision making arises. As moral and ethics are tied into how a person should act, care theory also exhibits the same beliefs; however, they are on different formats.

Care theory vs. Moral and ethics

Care theorists believe that ethical and moral actions are natural and established through the proper care of people; disparate from theorists such as Lickona and Simon, who believe virtue and ethics are taught and inculcated through practice and routine. Care theory is centered on personal relationships while virtue and ethics are centered on practice. Care theorists believe that children have a specific relationship with their parents and will listen when they promote values, no matter the age; thus, virtues progress through their relationship of care. Moral and ethics theorists believe that adults should decide when to promote and encourage particular values; they do not think that certain...
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