Ethics Reflection Paper

Submitted By kdmathis2
Words: 577
Pages: 3

Kim Mathis
ESE 6935
February 6, 2012
Ethical Knowledge in Teaching: A Moral Imperative of Professionalism

Elizabeth Campbell in her article Ethical Knowledge in Teaching: a Moral Imperative of Professionalism addresses the moral dimensions of teaching and the ethical demands they place on teachers on a daily basis. Teachers are faced every day with the duty, based on the role of their profession, to work in a constant state of what she terms “moral agency”. Moral Agency refers to two distinctive and interrelated commitments on the part of the teacher. The first part is upholding ethical principles and virtues. The second is a teacher’s implicit role to model moral behavior by example and deliberate instruction. Campbell believes that teachers need to develop “ethical knowledge”. This ethical knowledge is a heightened awareness teachers need in response to their role as moral agents. This ethical knowledge helps teachers make links between core moral and ethical values such as honesty, compassion, fairness and respect for others. Daily choices and actions by teachers are then guided by this ethical knowledge. When teachers are guided by ethical knowledge they move beyond the idea that teaching is a technical, pedagogical, curricular, disciplinary and evaluative role and begin to see themselves as a moral and ethical role model. So how do teachers develop ethical knowledge? Campbell asserts that teachers need opportunities to engage in collegial group reflection within their own school communities. Also teachers would benefit from regularly scheduled open forum discussion, peer coaching and school ethics committees. These opportunities would provide teachers with a network to discuss professional ethical issues and moral dilemmas that arise in the daily lives of teaching professionals. I agree with Campbell that it is important for teachers to develop and understand how to navigate the ethical and moral landscape of classroom teaching. In today’s society where morals and ethics seem to be a rarity in the makeup of human interaction, teachers are still looked upon as the role models for appropriate ethical, moral and professional behavior. That is sometimes a difficult burden to bear. However when an individual enters the teaching profession it is assumed that they will automatically be able to navigate this landscape with dignity and grace. As a veteran