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Ethical dilemmas in teaching. We have to get a case study and analyse the ethical dilemmas using ethical frameworks.

  • Category:
    Education
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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    4
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    2267

Еthiсаl Dilemmas in Tеасhing: А Саsе Study Аnd Аnаlysis of the Еthiсаl Dilemmas Using Еthiсаl Frаmеwоrks

Introduction

In the professional dimension, communication forms the center of policies and principles in the teaching field. Teaching is considered to be one of the professions where practitioners have to have a highly reputable ethical behavior (Calapardo et al, 2016). As a matter of fact, teachers are supposed to impart ethical principles to the students besides being role models to them. The actions demonstrated by the teachers are guided by the Code of Conduct and Professional Standards which shapes the decision making process allowing for the teachers to take into consideration various societal aspects like institutional expectations, societal framework besides the global context (Field et al, 2014). These aspects that are included in the critical incident impact on the individuals’ values and attributes that influence their choices.

As discussed by Forde et al, 2016, the choices made lead to ethical dilemma where individuals choose to ignore or act and whichever choice they make, has implication over individuals, organization and community in general. This retrospect paper seeks to address the ethical policies and principles in professional environments using a case for electronic communication in schools in the United Kingdom while considering the ethical framework and how it is regulated by the Professional Standards and Code of Conduct (Opara and Onyije, 2014).

Personal philosophy of teaching

The concept of teaching and learning evokes different philosophies (Sayani, 2015). As a teacher, I purpose to motivate students and make them feel inspired genuinely through encouraging ethical and effective communication for personal exploration. Basing on the views of Vaughn, 2015, in regard to employing pedagogical strategies in handling contemporary issues, I intent to demonstrate how knowledge and power of persuasion can be woven together in the educational discourse to empower the students and improve on their confidence in performing what they may view as difficult tasks.

Opara and Onyije, 2014, demonstrate that, conventionally, skill development requires practice just like it is evidenced in the audi alteram partem strategy. In order for one to think critically, I would provide the opportunity to listen from the students’ side (Vaughn, 2015). As a matter of fact, encouraging class discussion will help me develop the various aspects of critical inquiry besides developing analytical thinking for both parties. For instance, one student providing a comment during the class discussion (thesis) is provided with another counter comment (antithesis) which will lead to developing of a new idea (synthesis). This interaction of the three dimensions will allow the students to realize the pattern and therefore developing their conversational exploration and improving their analytical reasoning (Sayani, 2015).

Being a teacher, I am in a position to cultivate a diversified environment and atmosphere that will allow students to develop intellectual exploration and critical listening (Opara and Onyije, 2014). This can be achieved through generating new strategies that will allow students not to cling to the passive traditional student-teacher roles and instead develop counter-intuitive roles that boosts their self-discovery and appreciation. Through applying docendo discimus, which implies the idea of ‘learning from teaching’, in designing of peer-to peer sharing of ideas, it is possible for me to learn and integrate new terminologies that can be gained from listening to the students while they participate in role playing. Therefore, students participating in an online project without a teacher supervising may develop improved instructional and evaluation strategies that can be included my teaching methodologies (Sayani, 2015).

As proposed by Payne et al, 2014, in development of my pedagogical philosophy, I am guided by a core principle that “learning is not just for school but majorly for life”. During the teaching process, I would purpose to awaken the students to identify their responsibilities as principled humans, citizens, family members and friends through designing persuasive communication approach (Payne et al, 2014).

By incorporating my personal experiences through life, I appeal to the practical experience of the students in the classroom (Sayani, 2015). Making reference to everyday occurrences in a classroom before the actual “start” of the lesson will enable me to draw references to the occurrences during the teaching as instructional material. Inculcating these experiences will render the teaching style powerful by making the students to reflect on their own lives under similar contexts (Payne et al, 2014).

Case study: Mrs. K and Jane, United Kingdom.

Most of institutions including primary and secondary schools worldwide are using electronic communication with their students. Taking the case scenario of a teacher in United Kingdom, say, Mrs. K, is a teacher with a remarkable conduct within the school and the community. Besides, she is popular with students across the school, since she frequently offers extra help to students after school through emailing and other electronic means like social media. In this respect, it is not strange witnessing students visit her office after school and also being texted over social media platforms.

At one instance, she tutored “Jane” over a two-year period in various subjects. During this period, they texted and emailed using her personal addresses which at some instances led to them talking about casual and matters unrelated to school work like Mrs. K asking Jane about the wellbeing of Jane’s family members or friends. This has developed to a larger extent and Jane has begun texting and emailing Mrs. K about remote personal feelings.

Opara and Onyije, 2014, show that the idea of communicating with the students over electronic means has become popular and therefore, Mrs. K communicating with Jane after school through emailing is no surprise. However, the ethical dilemma comes into play when Mrs. K begins to divert from school work and begins discussing casual matters like family issues and friendship matters with Jane. This allows Jane to view her not in the educational setting but as a friend and a peer member that can be talked to about personal feelings. As presented in the case, Mrs. K in a dilemma on how to handle the issue and from which perspective since they have developed non educational relationship with Jane.

Discussion

This case scenario can be analyzed by employing the consequentialism ethical framework. This framework holds that the basis of judgment on whether a conduct is right or wrong depends on the consequences of the conduct (Howard-Snyder, 2016). As demonstrated by Sverdlik, 2016, this notion implies that the morality of our actions is judged basing only on the nature of their consequences. The framework is advocated for by various theories including ethical egoism, motive consequentialism, and ethical altruism among others all of which have to be governed by Professional Standards and Code of Conduct (Frederiksen, 2015).

Ethical egoism

According to the theory of ethical egoism, it is evident that many people perform actions because they perceive the ultimate consequences of the action will be beneficial to the parties involved (Howard-Snyder, 2016). For instance, it is possible that Mrs. K tried to appeal to the emotional distress o Jane by allowing her to talk freely about friendship and the family. Since she is known to offer extra help to students, it is presumed that her performance was being influenced by non-school matters and therefore, creating a caring environment rather that formal climate would help Jane develop her academic performance (Frederiksen, 2015). As a result, Mrs. K was more flexible which allowed Jane to be more open and inform her of the possible problems she was going through and among them, her personal feelings.

Taking into consideration the code of conduct and professional standards, it is unconventional that Mrs. K allowed Jane to communicate with her using personal email for Mrs. K. This raises a number of professional misconduct in a manner that Jane developed inappropriate teacher student relationship where she began discussing personal feelings (Forde, et al, 2016).

Ethical altruism

Furthermore, it can be viewed in terms of ethical altruism, a theory under consequentialism which holds that one may perform a certain action with an intention for best consequences for others while forgetting what it may result for themselves (Eisenberg, 2014). As a matter of fact, allowing students to communicate with her like Jane did, Mrs. K had the intention of helping the students boost their academic excellence. In so doing, she forgot the right mechanism by following her conscience without considering the school standards (Eisenberg, 2014).

Basing on the code of conduct, Mrs. K was right in developing a physically and emotionally healthy environment for the students (Field et al, 2014). On the contrary, allowing Jane to discuss personal feelings is unprofessional since in case the emails were revealed to the rest of the school and the public, it may be possible for her to lose her certificate besides causing trauma for Jane who might have shared sensitive information.

Motive Consequentialism

In the view of motive consequentialism, it is argued that the consequences of an action are to be determined whether they are right or wrong basing on the motive behind the actions (Sverdlik, 2016). Basing on this theory, the possible inference regarding the scenario between Mrs. K and Jane could be that Mrs. K had the best intentions for helping the students after school time by allowing them to visit her office and email her. The motive behind this act was that she intended for her students to become better academically. This motive coincides with the relevance of the moral context in education where individuals are driven by personal attributes to improve competencies and healthy competition worldwide (Payne et al, 2014).

The professional standards demand that teachers use common sense besides ensuring that the communication is transparent and accessible for administrative purposes (Calapardo et al, 2016). Moreover, the code of conduct allows for teacher student relationship to be kept professional by applying the rule of the thumb:” what is inappropriate to say in person, is still inappropriate for texting”.

Basically, the conduct of Mrs. K through developing the communication channels with the students may be with the best motive with the right intent, the messages being shared over her personal email can be translated as privy. Therefore, if the students were to share their concern with their Mrs. K concerning school matters, it would be appropriate for it to be done in a more open manner like though school based emailing or an eLearning portal where the students will not be in a position to bring out their personal information for discussion (Calapardo et qqal, 2016).

Recommendations for Teacher under Similar Scenario

Basing on the Professional Standards and Code of Conduct, I would recommend that teachers in a similar situation like Mrs. K should prefer realizing the boundaries that demonstrate student teacher relationship in professional dimension (Calapardo et al, 2016). As such, matters relating to school and academic welfare of the students should be handled through school based email rather than personal addresses or texting (Opara and Onyije, 2014).

Besides, I would recommend that in a similar situation, teachers should deal with personal matters relating to students within the school in an office with open door. This, opposed to emailing, which is not private, is useful in order to maintain appropriate conduct while securing the confidentiality of the students (Payne et al, 2014). Moreover, the teacher should consult administrators or another teacher for them to join in the conversation and offer professional guidance where possible to help solve the problems the student may be having even if it is of a personal nature (Forde et al, 2016).

Conclusion

Conclusively, the ethical principles and policies apply in every sphere in the professional field. By analyzing the case scenario for Mrs. K and Jane, it is revealed that teachers have to observe the Code of Conduct in order to uphold the Professional Standards (Forde et al, 2016). Furthermore, applying the ethical framework, like consequentialism, it is demonstrated that the ethical dilemma presented in professional fields can be analyzed to explain possible reasons for the events leading to the dilemma (Howard-Snyder, 2016). Therefore, addressing the ethical dilemma should be done in such a way that a responsible professional should be guided by the code of conduct rather that their personal drive to do what could be right but in the wrong manner, just like the case of Mrs. K and Jane (Vaughn, 2015).

References

Calapardo, R. A. B., Balagtas, M. V., & Dacanay, A. G. (2016). Analysis of the Student Teaching Program of Selected Teacher Education Institutions and Its Alignment with the Professional Standards for Teachers. The Normal Lights, 10(1).

Eisenberg, N. (2014). Altruistic Emotion, Cognition, and Behavior (PLE: Emotion). Psychology Press.

Field, P., Littler, L., & Jasper, C. (2014). Practice Education in Social Work: Achieving professional standards. Critical Publishing.

Forde, C., McMahon, M. A., Hamilton, G., & Murray, R. (2016). Rethinking professional standards to promote professional learning. Professional Development in Education, 42(1), 19-35.

Frederiksen, C. S. (2015). Ethical Egoism; Ethical Theories; Utilitarianism. Dictionary of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Howard-Snyder, F. (2016). Degrees and Dimensions of Rightness: Reflections on Martin Peterson’s Dimensions of Consequentialism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 19(1), 31-38.

Opara, J. A., & Onyije, L. E. (2014). Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): a panacea to achieving effective goals in institutional administration. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, (12), 81-87.

Payne, D., Lundberg, O., & Zinogni, M. (2014). Professional Codes of Conduct for Academics: Not Just an Academic Exercise. Ethics & Critical Thinking Journal, 2014(4).

Sayani, A. H. (2015). My Philosophy of Teaching and Learning. Open Access Library Journal, 2(12), 1.

Sverdlik, S. (2016). Consequentialism, Moral Motivation, and the Deontic Relevance of Motives. Moral Motivation: A History, 259.

Vaughn, L. (2015). Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton & Company.