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The education of character : implications of Buber for the student services profession

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  • Martin Buber was an internationally known scholar, teacher, and author whose works covered education, communication, politics, theology, philosophy, counseling, and related fields. The purpose of this study was to discover the implications of Buber's philosophy of education for the student services profession. Previous attempts to relate Martin Buber's philosophy to student services were reviewed and a "Buber Primer" of useful terms for the student services professional was presented. The implications of education of character, dialogue, and educator-student relationship for four central questions for the student services profession were addressed: (1) Who are we as professionals?; (2) What are we supposed to do; (3) How?; and (4) Why? Buber proposes that education is essentially the education of character. Student services professionals should define themselves as educators; persons concerned with the development of the whole student. Buber defines dialogue as a seven step process: a turning of the being, confirmation, a sense of empathy, authenticity, common fruitfulness, silence, and commitment. Professional educators are encouraged to engage students in dialogue. Dialogue is defined as the delivery mechanism for developmentally based student services and for the education of character. Buber's concepts were related to the various activities of student services. Martin Buber's philosophy of dialogue and his 'education of character' should enhance the ability of professionals in student services to serve all students more intelligently and effectively. This study concluded that Martin Buber's philosophy belongs both in the vocabulary and the practice of student services.
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