Care as a Little Recognized Classroom Feature

Care as a Little Recognized Classroom Feature

By: Curtis Kelly

“Care.” A term rarely found in the scientific literature and vague as a Think Tank theme. We discussed changing this title, but decided we would wait and see what came in from the authors first and then decide. I can say now, after reading through this fine collection of articles, that “care” is exactly the right word to use. If you think about it, care is involved in everything we as teachers and our students as learners do.

Our authors guide us through three different aspects of care:

1) checking learner emotional states and making learner care part of the language teaching,

2) using care to help learners through two extremely difficult tasks: developing reading skills despite disabilities, and making a presentation despite the high levels of anxiety,

3) and finally, how self-care as a teacher is ultimately learner care.

You see? Care is at the center of what we do and it is something we should discuss more often. I wonder why we don’t. In fact, some of the Think Tanks we did in the past tie in to the need for care. To name a few, our Depression issue, which was probably the most surprising for me, along with our ADHD, Stress, and Neurodiversity issues made us realize how often those quiet learners sitting in front of us are engaged in their own private struggles.

(Click on the covers to see the issues.)

Or if not engaged in struggles, then concerns, as shown in the Outside Lives issue. And the Social Brain, Teacher-to-Student, and Student-to-Student issues show that classroom learning is a social event. And finally, the Well-Being issue informs why teachers are also in need of care.


(Click on the covers to see the issues.)

A needed change

Too much of language teacher training focuses on intricacies of the language, as if we were training researchers instead of caregivers, and the virtual absence of training on how to care for learners and ourselves is almost shameful. Let us work together to change that. After all, I have often found my role in class is being more of a counselor than linguist, and I’ll bet you have too. Let us proclaim the importance of care and make it fundamental to every teaching endeavor.

Curtis Kelly (EdD.) is a professor emeritus of Kansai University, a founder of the JALT Mind, Brain, and Education SIG, and producer of the MindBrainEd Think Tanks. He has written over 30 books and given over 500 presentations. His life mission is “to relieve the suffering of the classroom.”

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