Mending Walls: Recognizing the Influence of Boundary Issues in the Teacher/Student Relationship

Ruth Givens

Considering the ethical concerns inherent in the dimension of the pedagogical relationship, Ruth Givens explores the issue of personal boundaries in education. Her focus here is to heighten the readerís understanding of boundary issues by identifying the conundrum inherent in teaching, where removing boundaries can result in vulnerability, yet enforcing boundaries may create disconnection. Using her own experiences with personal boundaries as a Christian teacher who sees her responsibilities extending beyond the classroom, Givens identifies the ethical dilemmas all teachers experience when they value the mentoring relationship but want to maintain the appropriate professional distance. Recognizing the need for a balance between encouraging openness and respecting autonomy in studentsí lives, she includes the perspectives of theorists from education and philosophy who recognize when boundaries are necessary and when they are not. Ms. Givens is Associate Professor of Education at Azusa Pacific University.

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Last Updated: January 1, 2007
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