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Fostering Care Theory Through Audio Feedback

This study examined how the use of audio commentary could foster the tenets of Nel Noddings’ care theory. Audio commentary fits with the tenets of care theory because it allows teachers to use nuance in their feedback practices, commenting in greater depth and detail and use tone of voice, emphasis, and pacing to help have a successful writing conference with the student without being in the same room. Audio commentary meets Noddings’ requirement of “motivational displacement” on the part of the carer as part of a caring relationship because it requires teachers to truly focus on the feedback they are giving when delivered verbally. For Noddings, the cared-for must exhibit qualities of “reception, recognition, and response,” and audio commentary fosters those qualities as well. A student must really listen for feedback and cannot cursorily scan written comments in the margins. A student can also go back and re-listen to audio feedback, helping them hear the feedback multiple times and begin a dialogue with their teacher. Finally, audio comments can also increase motivation, as the most effective uses of this form apply positive dialogue with a student. This form of feedback is still in embryonic stages; however, I have used this form of feedback with my students, and I have found that it has demonstrated to my students the care I hope to communicate to them.


  • Are teachers in your school using audio commentary?

  • How do teachers in your school communicate care to their students?

  • Who are the most caring teachers in your school? What makes them caring?

Chalfin, G. (2018). Audio feedback on student writing: Could voice recording foster the tenets of care theory? Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 20(1), 61-71,176.

Greg Chalfin is a fourth year doctoral student at UNC and the Head of Middle School at Stanley British Primary School in Denver. Follow Greg on Twitter at @gregchalfin.