three
The teacher as a moral educator

Moral education as moral agency

For centuries, the concept of the teacher as a moral educator of the new generation has endured as both a stated objective of the professional role and an implicit inevitability of its moral agency since, 'teachers are already teaching ethical behaviour and attitudes both by their example and in the multitudinous informal ways they interact with children and youth'.1 Moral education, as it is broadly conceived, includes both what teachers as ethical exemplars model in the course of their daily practice and what moral lessons they teach directly either through the formal curriculum or the informal dynamics of classroom and school life. As the second element of the dual nature of moral agency, as it is discussed in The Ethical Teacher, moral education is based not on programmes but on the teacher as a person who intentionally promotes, as well as exemplifies, ethical virtues such as honesty, fairness, respect, and kindness. In this regard, what teachers teach students in a moral sense connects closely to the previous chapter's discussion of the virtues teachers hold for themselves as important characteristics of their practice.

As I have written elsewhere:

Moral educators are all teachers who understand the moral and ethical
complexities of their role, who possess a level of expertise in interpret-
ing their own behavior and discerning the influence that this behavior
has on students, and who, as a consequence, strive to act ethically
within the context of their professional responsibilities.2

They also have an expectation that students should acquire virtues necessary

-47-

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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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