The caring beliefs of three teacher educators
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Caring is considered a central feature of good teaching yet little is known about teacher educators’ beliefs and perceptions of the role of care in their own teaching. This qualitative research study seeks to remedy that, and to encourage other such research. One white American female, one female reared in Mexico by a Swedish mother and a Mexican father, and one African American male are the participants in this study. Spending a long semester with each participant, the researcher examined the teacher educators’ beliefs and practices through the use of interview sessions, observations of their class teaching and conference sessions with individual students, as well as through focus groups with their students. In addition to the data corroborating already commonly-held notions that care is demonstrated by a teacher’s being available, accessible, attentive, and responsive to students, the research data also indicate that each teacher educator has an idiosyncratic approach to caring that is closely aligned with a pedagogical strategy. The major finding, however, is that each teacher educator demonstrated inconsistencies in their caring practices., indicating that inconsistency is, in fact, a characteristic of caring not yet addressed in the literature. The researcher challenges those in the field to reconsider caring as inherently inconsistent in teacher education, and to examine what in teacher education makes it difficult to care with consistency.