Values-Driven Teaching: Caring Holistically for Each Student

Among Georgetown’s foundational values, there are two that may seem hard to disentangle: care of the whole student and cura personalis. Both of these values concern caring for our students in thoughtful and complex ways—but each approaches those questions of care from different directions.

Care of the whole student involves engaging the full humanity of your students, going beyond addressing their intellect to fostering holistic growth across many aspects of life; cura personalis, on the other hand, asks us to consider each student as an individual, distinct from all others. While the first might make us think primarily about bringing issues of student well-being into our courses, the second invites us to think about how to make our classrooms as inclusive as possible.

At CNDLS we have resources designed to help with both. We’ve talked previously on this blog about our Teaching Commons page on Teaching Well-Being, for example. But we also have a page on Inclusive Pedagogy. On that page we outline some of the research demonstrating the importance of building a learning space where all students have access to learning, and where we explore local resources as well as teaching techniques that help you reach everyone.

Taking these values seriously means thinking about the ways that the larger world reaches into our courses. Most recently, in the context of a national landscape frequently shaken by troubling events, we’ve put together an online collection of resources on Responding to Critical Events, which includes a page on Teaching in the Shadow of Gun Violence. The hope is that, through thoughtful preparation, we can meet our students where their thoughts and hearts are.

More generally, we think this is at the heart of what it means to teach well: educating our students as whole people and to create classrooms where there are no margins, where all of our students are at the center of the learning experience. Teaching in this way, we can make our values real in the world.

As ever, please reach out to us at if we can help!