Listening: A virtue account

Suzanne Rice, Nicholas C. Burbules

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Context: Despite its significance for learning listening has received very little attention in the philosophy of education literature. This article draws on the philosophy and educational thought of Aristotle to illuminate characteristics of good listening. The current project is exploratory and preliminary, seeking mainly to suggest what a virtues orientation might offer in terms of understanding and fostering good listing in educational contexts. Purpose: This work examines how listening in educational contexts may be understood when examined through an Aristotelian lens. Virtue ethics provides a systematic orientation for the analysis of a familiar but underanalyzed phenomenon: good listening. Research Design: This is an analytic essay. Conclusions/Recommendations: It is possible to identify characteristics of good listening and at least some of these would almost certainly be counted among the virtues by many working within an Aristotelian framework. We have mentioned a few already-patience, tolerance, humility, and various intellectual virtues. Our aim is not to offer a new menu of virtues as a possible replacement for those advocated by others, but rather to give some sense of how virtue ethics can inform thinking about listening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2728-2742
Number of pages15
JournalTeachers College Record
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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