Developing Professional Ethics: A Statewide Curricular Solution

Developing Professional Ethics: A Statewide Curricular Solution

Oliver Dreon (Millersville University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1668-2.ch008
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In this chapter, the development of the Educator Ethics and Conduct Toolkit (EECT) will be examined. The EECT was created as part of a comprehensive initiative for developing Professional Ethics for preservice and new teachers across the state. Rather than examine educator ethics from a philosophical point of view, the EECT is a practical, scenario-based curriculum which helps beginning teachers examine their fiduciary responsibilities and analyze ethical decision-making in authentic contexts. Utilizing a case study approach, the chapter examines the overall instructional design, development and implementation of the curricular materials.
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There are many ways to examine ethics philosophically. For example, Lawrence Kohlberg (1981) proposed six stages of moral development. In his view, individuals have the capacity to develop morally over their lifetime. Individuals initially base their ethical decisions on rules and regulations and act in ways to avoid punishment. As individuals develop morally, they may eventually reach a stage where their actions are based on universal principles of justice and respect for human life. These stages of moral development help to provide a lens to view one’s ethical decisions. For instance, a person at Stage 1 may act a certain way to avoid getting in trouble. Individuals at Stage 2 primarily make ethical decisions based on preserving their own self-interests. When people reach Stage 3 in Kohlberg’s model of moral development, they begin to see the larger societal aspects of their actions and decision-making. At Stage 3, following established societal norms is a person’s primary motivation. Individuals at Stage 4 focused on following the laws. At Stage 5, however, people’s ethical decisions are guided by the welfare of others and by considering what is best for the common good. An individual who reaches Stage 6 focuses on larger universal ethical principles of human rights, justice and equality.

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