Academic journal article Education

Ethical Awareness and Ethical Orientation of Turkish Teachers

Academic journal article Education

Ethical Awareness and Ethical Orientation of Turkish Teachers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Teachers face widely different ethical cases, especially during their courses, and they are supposed to be just and fair to the students at schools. Besides, they need to consider students' classroom performance along with exam scores to decide students' success for their course. So they should appraise the students' performance properly during their formative evaluation.

Teachers also need to be competent in accordance with the ethical cases that they come up against in schools. These ethical cases might be related to be their colleagues, or their school administrators, and they need to make ethical decisions several times. Ethical decision-making is a decision-making in situations where ethical conflicts are present (Cohen, Pant, and Sharp, 2001). Teachers are introduced and trained about ethics education during their pre-service education in the world. Prospective teachers are supposed to learn professional ethics codes, and to develop ethical principles to analyze and solve different ethical cases that they would be faced with at schools. So an important role of university and work experience is to provide professionals with the ability to recognize the ethical issues in the course of their practice, to define the norms, principles and values related to the situation, to identify alternative choices, and to decide on the most appropriate course of action when such dilemmas are encountered (Langenderfer and Rockness, 1989; Aydin, 2003).

Rest (cited in Cohen, et. al 2001, p.321), argue that good ethical decisions includes primarily the ability to recognize and correctly evaluate the ethical dilemmas in decision situations. So, teachers cannot be expected to make consistently sound ethical choices if they are unable to identify ethical criteria and evaluate them in a given situation. This study therefore explores ethical awareness of teachers with their orientation for ethical evaluation through well-known ethical criteria, and also tests their willingness or intention to commit questionable actions. So this paper is supposed to contribute to the professional ethics studies attempting to investigate underlying reasons for ethical evaluation, and ethical decision-making of the teachers in Turkey.

Organizational Wrongdoings and Ethical Decision-making

Since incidence rate of organizational misconducts has become wide spread throughout the world, workplace deviance has been an important issue for researchers and organizations for years especially in Western countries. It was reported that up to 75% of organization members attempted to theft, computer fraud, vandalism, sabotage, or absenteeism, and three quarters of employees steal at least once from their employer (Henle, Giacalone, and Jurkiewicz, 2005; Robinson and Bennett, 1995).

Miceli and Near (2005) argue that organization members are the most effective parties to decrease these kinds of wrongdoings. These kinds of individuals are likely to be valued because they feel constrained to report wrongdoing by their own sense of moral behavior. Moral reasoning requires the ability to recognize and correctly evaluate any ethical dilemma (Miceli et. al, 1991, 2001). An individual can realize an instance of wrongdoing in different grammatical forms: '(1) as a question, "Did you know that ...?' (2) as an exclamation, 'That ... is terrible!' (3) as an injunction, "Do something about ...!' (4) or as a mere statement of fact, 'It is the case that ...' (Elliston, 1982; Vinten, 1996; Near et al. 2004). Therefore an individual's evaluation of a wrongdoing is based upon organizational, situational and personal factors (Miceli et. al, 2001), and type of wrongdoing (Near et al., 2004).

Near et al. (2004) created taxonomies of wrongdoing in organizations and found that employees who observed wrongdoing related to mismanagement, legal violations, and sexual harassment were more likely to report it than were employees who observed waste, stealing or discrimination. …

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