Ethics, derived from Ancient Greece andsimply meaning ethos/character, is an attribute that many find is importantand, in lots of cases, compulsory in the every-day lives of people all aroundthe world. Ethics can be understood as the study of standards and moraljudgement: moral philosophy (Infantino & Wilke,p1, 2009). From working in the local businesses, being employed in thecivil service, playing for the local football club, ethics are in some shape orform very much present in most situations in life. May that be a minor or majortype of ethics, it is very rare to not find some aspect of ethics in our everyday lives. These ethics are set up by persons to create a communalunderstanding of what is right and wrong in relation to their situation or itis simply a system of beliefs that supports a particular view of morality.Beaucamp and Bowie, p1 2004, believe ethics to be a set of a general moralbelief, normative rules of conduct, a code, a standard or set of standards thatgoverns what one ought to do when the well-being and right of, or duties tooneself, others or institutions are at stake.
For example, if one was to playfor a football team every contributor from the management team to thesubstitution and everyone else in between, will have an agreement on what isthe right thing and what is the wrong thing to do when they find themselves inpredicaments that could have consequences, may that be good or bad. Theirjudgement will be tested and, if they were to follow the ethical understandingof the group, then they are abiding by their own laws. While this has discussed the generalunderstanding of what ethics mean, this project will focus on ethics in aclassroom. The type of ethics contract may differ from class to class, changingdue to factors such as the actual importance of ethics in their opinion totheir own beliefs, and these will be compared throughout the work. And the maintarget is to look at how culture impacts, if even, the development of theethical classroom. Just because theorists such as Pitella and Rotstein believethat having an ethical classroom is the ‘ultimate incubator learning’ thatdoesn’t mean that everyone agrees, and this topic will be discussedthroughout. The importance of ethics varies very muchso as many peoples’ situations differ.
Many factors come into play to determinetheir ethical beliefs and that is how their ethical theory is built. H Kung(1990) makes an excellent point, no matter where you’re from or background ‘menand women are dependent on shared basic ethical values, criteria and attitudesfor peaceful coexistence’. Kung’s book ‘Projekt Weltethos’ (meaning ‘GlobalResponsibility’) discussed ethics as a global situation and expressed that evenwith different religious backgrounds and beliefs, their ethical views be verysimilar (Schlenk et al, p59, 2014). In education, there are not manycircumstances where ethics will not be visible. Whether that be on a majorscale or in a minute importance, an element of ethics can be seen. R.
S Peters,who talks about Ethics and Education, discussedthat connection between these terms and makes the reader understand theimportance of ethics. It is said that a man with a trained mind is one who cantackle problems that are put to him in a rigorous and competent way, (Peters, p32,2015). Peters suggests that ‘the educated mind’ will have a wider range ofsolutions if problems were to arise: using ethical beliefs to have a greaterspectrum of answers to resolve whatever obstacle arises. Schlenk (p5, 2014) proposes that education iswhere ethics should come into play. This is where these young people are built,initiating a healthy development of critical thinking and understanding thingsmore ethically. If ethos is present, they will have respect and compassion forothers.
An education in ethics can be very beneficial to the child. Schlenk very much agrees that education andethics compliment each other for a sustainable and dialogic future. This canonly be of benefit to the young person if these two elements are present. Also connecting education to ethics, Infantinoand Wilkes (p8, 2009) claim that ethics are integrated into education, so theright choices are made and, as equally important, make one understand whyothers make certain decisions when they are in a certain predicament. As these theorists that I have previouslydiscussed explained, ethics is very important throughout the education system.This can have many positive attributes for the student. Even though this isfocusing on the student they are not the only ones who can benefit from this.
From the principal to the café lady, all will have an agreeance on what type ofethics they would like to portray and would like to see visible in the school.For the student to act upon this they will very much need to see others beingethical. As one of the many jobs that a teacher holds, they must act in acertain way that when the students see it the will find this act as one that isof respect, dignity and very much ethical to their school.
Teachers are rolemodels to the students and they help ‘students construct a moral compassguidance by fairness, honesty, integrity, civility, compassion andresponsibility (Mathur & Corley, p141, 2008). To have these characteristicsin a child or at any age, it could only have a positive impact on him/her.These are aspects that are very much welcomed from every parent/guardian.
Asteachers are very important in the students’ lives, their moral ethics must beshown in the class also. Even though their ethical views and the importance canvery much differ it will be clear that ethics is evident.One of the major parties in the school touphold ethics are the teachers as they are examples to the students. Maria Harden(Schlenk, p30, 2014) refers to the teacher as role models in such things associal learning, cooperative and tolerance behaviour and constructive conflictbehaviour. This comment illustrates that teachers have great responsibilitywhen it comes to their students. ‘In the ethical classroom students realisetheir self-worth and are accepted, supported and respected’ (Pitella andRotstein, teaching.
com, 2015). Thesecharacteristics in a student will be clear if an ethical class is present. Foran ethical class to be present the teacher must follow the ethical classroomlaws also. Teachers must be fair, unbiased, respectful and non-judgemental foran ethical classroom to be existent. Mirroring Pitella’s view on teacherimportance, The Teaching Council Act 2007 states teachers must be committed toequality and inclusion in the classroom. It’s his/her job to show that thesetypes of attributes are very much what the class (and the overall school) isabout. Teachers must learn themselves how to be ethical before teaching his/herclass to do so, he/she also need to portray ethical features throughout theclass to show that acting in an ethical way is one that has great benefits.
Asteaching has shown, students have a wide range of ways that they learn. Drago,2004, discusses four main ways of learning in the classroom. Visual learning,audio, read/writing and kinaesthetic are four of the main ways for the studentsto learn in the classroom and show the teacher being fair and ethical, caringfor the students and accommodating every type of student: following theTeachers Act 2007 by having equality and inclusion in the classroom. This typeof behaviour will be one that can rub off on students, make them feel equal andimportant. As Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains, connecting one’s self-imageto one’s ideal self will strengthen one’s self-worth/esteem (Maslow, 370,1987). If a teacher is encouraging and aiding in the students’ self esteem(through an ethical classroom) then they will grow as a person and will radiateof ethical behaviours.
When someone has belief in them, that’s when they willbelieve in themselves. Gardener’s Multiple Intelligence Theory complimentsDrago’s opinion on differentiation as he believes that all students have sometype on intelligence and for the teacher to do their job to the utmost bestthey must cater for all students and make them realise their potential(Gardener, 2001). As this has shown, the teacher has a very big job in makingsure an ethical classroom is present.
Even when the teachers, students areother members are pro ethics there still are certain concepts that change thelevel and type of the ethics in a classroom. Davies and Harre feel that ‘a viewof ethics is created through own life experiences and decision making’ (Mathur& Corley, p137, 2014). Ethics, just like it does with people, can changefrom school to school depending on that school’s circumstances. One can betheir cultural background. Thereare so many factors that shape a school’s ethical beliefs. These could changeslightly or dramatically from school to school.
Such factors as location,religious beliefs, career prospectus, family background are some that willshape their ethical laws that they build themselves. All members of the schoolmust abide by this for it to become successful. The factor that will discussedhere is ethics being different due to the cultural background. As people havedifferent beliefs the addition of ethics in education can very much change fromschool to school.
Even though a lot of schools are pro ethics and make itpriority some are not so hyped up by the ethics phenomenon. Mathur and Morley’sBringing Ethics into the Classroom showsthat (page 137, paragraph 3) ethics isn’t top priority in this specificclassroom, there are more important things than this. Napier and Wines (p. 831,1992) view that ethics over multi-cultural situations (which is very muchpresent all over the world) is lost due to the many diverse cultural views.With this being present in today’s society the ‘ethical role’ is somewhatblurry and hard to define. There are going to be lots of different opinions sothat will make it harder for an ethical statement to be made: some might feeldisappointed, offended, isolated by the ethics set in their institution. Toreach a communal ethical agreement would be very hard with multi-culturalmembers as they all have their different views and ways of addressing aproblem.
Billikopf (p.2, 2009) discussed some of the obstacles that people mayface due to diverse cultural backgrounds. ‘Education, social standing,religion, personality, belief structure, experience, affection shown in thehome, and a myriad of other factors will affect human behaviour and culture’.To come to a common ground of what ethics to follow would be of hard graft incomparison to a group that come from the same culture.
For a teacher/ principalto decide on an ethical agreement all these factors have be included. In thisproject, it will focus on two different schools in the south of Dublin and itwill be discussed if they have different cultural ethical beliefs or if theyare very similar. Bibliography: · Beauchamp,T. L., Bowie, N. E.
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