21 4.1 Ethics

Ethics is defined as the discipline of dealing with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation. As students who will be entering the teaching profession in the next few years, it is imperative to understand that you are expected to follow a code of ethics.  Teachers are often held to higher standards than other professions, both in their classrooms and personal lives. Teachers are expected to be fair to all their students, not impose their personal views and not abuse their powers as educators.  We will examine both the Illinois State and the National Education Association Code of Ethics to understand these expectations better. These codes of ethics for teachers are designed to protect the rights of all students. The teaching profession requires that individuals be excellent ethical role models.

As a pre-service teacher, it is also important to reflect on your own set of values and beliefs. Consider how you will interact with students, manage classroom behavior and assess students’ progress. This is just a small part of an educator’s duties. The behaviors allowable in your college years will not be acceptable as a new teacher. Everything from the way you dress and speak to how you engage in social media is closely securitized as a teacher.  You need to be very conscientious of your appearance, attitudes, and behaviors. Teachers are expected to have high ethical standards all the time, both in and out of the classroom.

Activity

Illinois Code of Ethics

  • After reading the Illinois State Code of Ethics for Educators, summarize the five principles.
  • Compare Illinois State Code of Ethics with NEA Code of Ethics. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences.
  • List your own values and code of ethics in becoming a teacher.
  • Define integrity and explain why it is an essential disposition for teachers.

Teachers, like other professions, are expected to follow a code of ethics to guide and inform their behavior and decision-making.

The National Education Association’s preamble for its code of ethics:

“The Educator, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizes the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, and nurture of the democratic principles. Essential to these goals is the protection of freedom to learn and teach and guarantee an equal educational opportunity for all. The educator accepts the responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards.”

Illinois State Code of Ethics for Educators

Preamble

Educators fundamentally believe that meeting the educational needs of each student is critical to the profession. The Illinois Educators’ Code of Ethics is a set of core principles, values, and responsibilities that set expectations to guide practice and inspire professional excellence in relation to federal, state, and local policies, rules, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements. Illinois educators encourage the application of these core principles throughout the education community.

Principle 1: Responsibility to Students

The Illinois educator is committed to creating, promoting, and implementing a learning environment accessible to each student, enables students to achieve the highest academic potential, and maximizes their ability to succeed in academic and employment settings as responsible members of society. Illinois educators:

  • Embody the Standards for the School Service Personnel Certificate (23 Ill. Adm. Code 23), the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (23 Ill. Adm. Code 24), and Standards for Administrative Certification (23 Ill. Adm. Code 29), as applicable to the educator, in the learning environment;
  • Respect the inherent dignity and worth of each student by assuring that the learning environment is characterized by respect and equal opportunity for each student, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, language, or socioeconomic status;
  • Maintain a professional relationship with students at all times;
  • Provide a curriculum based on high expectations for each student that addresses individual differences through the design, implementation, and adaptation of effective instruction; and
  • Foster in each student the development of attributes that will enhance skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to society.

Principle 2: Responsibility to Self

PRINCIPLE 1: RESPONSIBILITY TO STUDENTS The Illinois educator is committed to creating, promoting, and implementing a learning environment that is accessible to each student, enables students to achieve the highest academic potential, and maximizes their ability to succeed in academic and employment settings as a responsible member of society. Illinois educators:

  • Embody the Standards for the School Service Personnel Certificate (23 Ill. Adm. Code 23), the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (23 Ill. Adm. Code 24), and Standards for Administrative Certification (23 Ill. Adm. Code 29), as applicable to the educator, in the learning environment;
  • Respect the inherent dignity and worth of each student by assuring that the learning environment is characterized by respect and equal opportunity for each student, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, language, or socioeconomic status;
  • Maintain a professional relationship with students at all times;
  • Provide a curriculum based on high expectations for each student that addresses individual differences through the design, implementation, and adaptation of effective instruction; and
  • Foster in each student the development of attributes that will enhance skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to society.

Principle 3: Responsibility to Colleagues and the Profession

The Illinois Educator is committed to collaborating with school and district colleagues and other professionals in the interest of student learning. Illinois Educators: Illinois Educator Code of Ethics ▪Collaborate with colleagues in the local school and district to meet local and state educational standards;

  • Work together to create a respectful, professional, and supportive school climate that allows all educators to maintain their individual professional integrity;
  • Seek out and engage in activities that contribute to the ongoing development of the profession;
  • Promote participation in educational decision-making processes;
  • Encourage promising candidates to enter the education profession; and
  • Support the preparation, induction, mentoring, and professional development of educators.

Principle 4: Responsibility to Parents, Families, and Communities

The Illinois Educator will collaborate, build trust, and respect confidentiality with parents, families, and communities to create effective instruction and learning environments for each student. Illinois Educators:

  • Aspire to understand and respect the values and traditions of the diversity represented in the community and their learning environments;
  • Encourage and advocate for fair and equal educational opportunities for each student;
  • Develop and maintain professional relationships with parents, families, and communities;
  • Promote collaboration and support student learning through regular and meaningful communication with parents, families, and communities; and
  • Cooperate with community agencies that provide resources and services to enhance the learning environment.

Principle 5: Responsibility to the Illinois State Board of Education

The Illinois Educator is committed to supporting the Administrative and School Codes, state and federal laws and regulations, and the Illinois State Board of Education’s standards for highly qualified educators. Illinois Educators:

  • Provide accurate communication to the Illinois State Board of Education concerning all certification matters;
  • Maintain appropriate certification for employment; and
  • Comply with state and federal codes, laws, and regulations

NEA Code of Ethics

PRINCIPLE I

Commitment to the Student

The educator strives to help each student realize their potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator, therefore, works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator–

  1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
  2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.
  3. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.
  4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or health and safety.
  5. Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.
  6. Shall not on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, family, social or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly–
    1. Exclude any student from participation in any program
    2. Deny benefits to any student
    3. Grant any advantage to any student
  7. Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage.
  8. Shall not disclose information about students obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.

PRINCIPLE II

Commitment to the Profession

The public’s education profession is vested with a trust and responsibility requiring the highest ideals of professional service.

In the belief that the quality of the services of the education profession directly influences the nation and its citizens, the educator shall exert every effort to raise professional standards, to promote a climate that encourages the exercise of professional judgment, to achieve conditions that attract persons worthy of the trust to careers in education, and to assist in preventing the practice of the profession by unqualified persons.

In fulfillment of the obligation to the profession, the educator–

  1. Shall not in an application for a professional position deliberately make a false statement or fail to disclose a material fact related to competency and qualifications.
  2. Shall not misrepresent his/her professional qualifications.
  3. Shall not assist any entry into the profession of a person known to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attributes.
  4. Shall not knowingly make a false statement concerning the qualifications of a candidate for a professional position.
  5. Shall not assist a non-educator in the unauthorized practice of teaching.
  6. Shall not disclose information about colleagues obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.
  7. Shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about a colleague.
  8. Shall not accept any gratuity, gift, or favor that might impair or appear to influence professional decisions or action.

(Adopted by the NEA 1975 Representative Assembly (National Education Association, 1975).

You must look closely at the expectations this college requires of you while an education major. Professional dispositions associated with you as a pre-service teacher are noted below.  Please review these dispositions and reflect on the responsibilities you have as an education major.

The Division of Education at the College of DuPage is committed to preparing educators who possess content knowledge and conduct themselves professionally through the expression of appropriate professional dispositions. As defined by the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), dispositions are the “habits of professional action and moral commitments that underlie the performances play a key role in how teachers do, in fact, act in practice” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011, p. 6).

Learner & Learning: “To ensure that each student learns new knowledge and skills, teachers must understand that learning and developmental patterns vary among individuals, that learners bring unique individual differences to the learning process, and that learners need supportive and safe learning environments to thrive” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011, p. 8).

The candidate:

  1. Demonstrates respect for cultural differences and the beliefs of others.
  2. Demonstrates patience and flexibility during the learning process.
  3. Develops, maintains, and models appropriate relationships within the learning environment.
  4. Demonstrates student-centered decision-making based on student needs.
  5. Demonstrates critical thinking in written & oral form.
  6. Demonstrates compliance with the Illinois Code of Ethics for Educators
  7. Demonstrates compliance with the expectations set by your cooperating teacher and course instructor.
  8. Demonstrates initiative and responsibility for own actions: independence, going beyond what is given, seeking after knowledge and professional development, and actively seeking solutions to problems.
  9. Demonstrates professional demeanor and appropriate appearance.
  10. Fosters respectful communication among all members of the learning community.
  11. Is prepared for class or appointments.
  12. Is punctual for class or appointments.
  13. Demonstrates reflective practice in written or verbal form.

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Introduction to Education by Shannon M. Delgado and Sarah Mark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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