Like Quicksand: Reflections on the Contribution of Care to the Educational Relationship




student well-being, student mental health, pedagogy of care, relational pedagogy, pandemic, reflexive posture, educator role


Even before the pandemic subjected us to new realities and different teaching and learning environments, anxiety, fatigue, feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness were felt. Like quicksand, these states of ill-being overwhelm learners in their academic momentum. This phenomenon is certainly not only a consequence of the pandemic. In my role as a teacher and now as a professor, I have seen it come out of the woodwork and amplify at an alarming rate. However, my role as an academic is shaped and reshaped in response to these observations. Noddings (2003) argues that caring relationships are ends in themselves, not simply means to achieve learning outcomes; the contribution of an ethic of care in the educational relationship between learner and teacher is important. Do our educational intentions about the curriculum remain too rigid? Does our teaching practice include the possibility of hearing stressed voices, anguished words, tormented hearts? Are we listening to the human condition in our learners? Although everything may seem fine, the anxiety is real, and it is our responsibility to address it. This article is the result of a pedagogical reflection, from the lens of an educator in the pandemic era.

Author Biography

Dany Dias, Université de l'Ontario français

Dr. Dany Dias is an Assistant Professor at Université de l'Ontario français, in Toronto, Ontario. Prior to assuming this role, Dany was Chair of the French Education Program in the Faculty of Education at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. She had a teaching career in French public schools of Eastern Ontario for thirteen years before beginning her career in higher education. As a professor-researcher, she pursues her research interests in the context of teacher education. Her research focuses on critical pedagogies in education, pedagogical relationality, social justice education, language and literacy, and issues related to the Francophonie in a minority context. 


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How to Cite

Dias, D. (2023). Like Quicksand: Reflections on the Contribution of Care to the Educational Relationship. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 20(2-3), 53–67.