A Moral Method? Thoughts on cultivating empathy through Method acting

Journal of Moral Education 29 (1):87-99 (2000)
Abstract
Notable educational theorists have begun to call for the cultivation of empathy in moral education. Currently, and almost exclusively, theorists advocate exploring the characters and worlds in literature and biography to nurture empathic capacities. This paper suggests that we can expand the conversation to include the dramatic art of acting. Using Nel Noddings ethic of Care, I contend that the type of empathy necessary for Caring holds certain skills and processes in common with the type of empathy Method actors employ in their work. Given that acting training breaks down the process of empathy into do-able (and discuss-able) steps, Method techniques may prove useful to educators. The paper also points to certain moral divergences between the empathy in Caring and that employed in acting and suggests that the use of Method techniques be supplemented with moral content and by the exercise of moral reasoning
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