What is ethics?Ethics are learned behaviours shaped by a range of societal influences such as school, work, community, family, church, the arts, culture and sports. Our individual interpretation of ethics helps shape our ideas about justice, morality and virtue.
Why do you need to know about this?Ethics are not a single topic you can study in isolation but are a foundation upon which you live and practice. Everything you do, every decision you make, has ethics at its core, driving or motivating your actions and decisions. Identifying your personal ethics allows you to understand what drives and motivates you to respond to situations in certain ways. Identifying and understanding your professional ethics provides part of the map of your professional journey and at times prescribes exactly what you can and cannot do.
THIS WEEK’S ASSESSMENT
Activity 5: Legal and ethical contexts in my digital practice
Create a blog post where you first identify one ethical dilemma that you either have faced, or might face in the future, in your own practice that is linked to digital or online access or activity.Critique the ethical issues that arise from the dilemma and then discuss either:how you would address such a dilemma if it occurred in your own practiceOran actual situation that you have knowledge of, and how it was resolved.The discussion should be in relation to one or more of the following: the regulations or policy in your organisation on online practice, the Code of Ethics for certificated teachers, and relevant legal documents.
Following these steps may help:
Step 1: Identifying an ethical dilemmaWe are constantly being asked to make objective judgements on issues through the process of ethics, yet ethics are not black and white, they are shades of grey and, in many instances, actions can not be easily decided.
For some examples of ethical dilemma scenarios that teachers might potentially face. Watch this week's Edpuzzle videos
“Teacher Ethics- Social Media Dilemma
and "The commitment to Parents/Guardians and Family"
Ethical and Professional Dilemmas for Educator: Facilitator’s Guide also provides various ethical dilemma scenarios. Read the material and note the ones that you can resonate with or learn from.Now, identify one ethical dilemma that you either have faced in your own practice, or might face in the future, that is linked to digital or online access or activity.Then, critique the ethical issues that arise from the dilemma.
Step 2: Addressing a potential ethical dilemma in practiceOften Laws or a Code will not always provide the specific answer but can be a legal ground upon which you can move towards a possible solution.
A Code of Ethics is one way an organisation can set the limits for minimum behaviours in their profession or organisation. As a registered teacher in NZ, your practice is governed by the Code Of Ethics for Certified Teachers (and will be replace by the new code by 1 July 2017)
Examine social media policies within your organisation and the Code of Ethics for Certificated Teachers (Education Council. n.d.) and consider how this code should be interpreted to assist you in the ethical decision-making process.
Ethical and Professional Dilemmas for Educator: Facilitator’s Guide, one of this week's recommended readings, suggests these guiding questions when working through ethical issues:
“What possible issues/concerns might this scenario raise?
How could this situation become a violation of the law, the “Code” or other school /district policies?
In this situation, what are some potential negative consequences for the teacher, for the students and the school community?
What responses/actions will result in a more positive outcome and/or what proactive measures might be considered?“ (p.7)
Our required reading from Hall (2001) recommends another set of questions to guide the process, including:
“Which stakeholder should be given priority? Why?
What restrictions are there to your actions?
Which courses of action are possible?
How should the course of action be implemented? “ (p.5)
Are the guiding questions helpful for your process of making ethical decision? If they are not, what other tools might you utilise?Remember to use one or more of the following as the ethical basis to address the issues: the regulations or policy in your organisation on online practice, the Code of Ethics for certificated teachers,or any relevant ethical/ legal document.
Hall, A. (2001) What ought I to do, all things considered? An approach to the exploration of ethical problems by teachers. Paper presented at the IIPE Conference, Brisbane. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Developing-leaders/What-Ought-I-to-Do-All-Things-Considered-An-Approach-to-the-Exploration-of-Ethical-Problems-by-Teachers
A useful guide is given by Nias (1999) who identifies six aspects of the culture of care in a primary classroom: affectivity, responsibility for learners, responsibility for relationships in the school, self-sacrifice, over-conscientiousness and identity.
Connecticut’s Teacher Education and Mentoring Program.(2012) Ethical and Professional Dilemmas for Educator: Facilitator’s Guide. Retrieved from http://www.ctteam.org/df/resources/Module5_Manual.pdf
Ministry of Education. (2015). Digital technology - Safe and responsible use in schools. Retrieved from http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/School/Managing-and-supporting-students/DigitalTechnologySafeAndResponsibleUseInSchs.pdf
Henderson, M., Auld, G., & Johnson, N. F. (2014). Ethics of Teaching with Social Media. Paper presented at the Australian Computers in Education Conference 2014, Adelaide, SA. Retrieved from http://acec2014.acce.edu.au/sites/2014/files/attachments/HendersonAuldJohnson_EthicalDilemmas_ACEC_2014_0.pdf
New Zealand Teachers Council. (2012). Commitment to Parents/Guardians and Family/Whānau. [video file] Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49804201
Cinelearning. (2016, August 17). Teacher Ethics Video - Social Media Dilemma. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGQbLSEPN5w