Eight
Using ethical knowledge to
inform practice

Fostering ethical professionalism through teacher education

Ethical knowledge as the applied basis of professional ethics in teaching should be used by teachers in their self-examinations of the moral nature of their actions, decisions, and overall attitudes to students and to the professional obligations of teaching more generally. They need to question why they do what they do, what the moral impact is of their behaviour towards others, whether aspects of their routine practices could be indicative of careless, negligent, insensitive, or essentially inadequate conduct, and so on. Collectively, they need to consider such questions from the perspective of shared ethical knowledge as they may apply to the normative practices in their own schools. In this respect, the previous chapter addressed both the imperative for individual self-reflection and the hope for a collective use of ethical knowledge as a lens through which to assess all aspects of teaching and schooling. Consequently, it argued that ethical knowledge can provide the basis of renewed professionalism in teaching and renewed school cultures.

This concluding chapter proposes that the concept of ethical knowledge should also provide the theoretical and practical framework for renewed teacher education and professional learning. For if ethical knowledge is to be the moral gauge of teachers' practices, then simultaneously, practices should be designed to cultivate teachers' ethical knowledge. And the practice of teacher education, in all its various forms, is the obvious sphere from which to launch such a cultivation of the core of ethical professionalism.

As I have argued elsewhere, teacher education programmes must develop 'ways to enable student teachers to understand their future role and antici-

-130-

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The Ethical Teacher
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Part 1 - Moral Agency and Ethical Knowledge 1
  • One - Introduction to Ethics in Teaching 9
  • Two - The Teacher as a Moral Person 23
  • Three - The Teacher as a Moral Educator 47
  • Part 2 - Challenges to Ethical Professionalism 59
  • Four - Dilemmas in Teaching 63
  • Five - Collegial Fear: the Dilemmas Within 84
  • Part 3 - Ethical Directions 101
  • Six - Standards and Codes 103
  • Seven - Learning to Create an Ethical Culture 115
  • Eight - Using Ethical Knowledge to Inform Practice 130
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 164
  • Index 175
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