Table of Contents
In its simplicity, ethics mean doing no harm. It is a moral philosophy where one’s important ideals, both private and professional, are applied to expedite actions that replicate those morals. Ethical dilemmas happen when different interests of individuals become conflicted, thereby creating a need for a advanced level of principles that are reasonable to the civil rights of the of all the concerned parties (Schultz, 2005). The fairness of these principles is dependent on their suitability by all members of the society as mandatory in order to resolve the conflict of interests. It is a basic moral sense that is hard wired into individuals’ brains on the right way to act (Drumwright, Prentice & Biasucci, 2015). Therefore, the moral principles govern the behavior of an individual or group. The values used in an individual’s actions must be rooted on ethical decisions and strategies, reflecting the standard of behaviors that are acceptable to the hole society.
Ethics have been always been the backbone of every decision I have made at personal and professional levels. The choices I make encompass and demonstrate my value system. Most of these values were acquired at an early age but as I grow older, meeting different people and gaining diverse experiences, my value system has significantly changed to reflect the new perspectives. There are various considerations that I make before making any choice, which often in the form of questions that I ask myself, such as what harm will my choice do?, will the resulting actions make me feel better as a person?, if my decision was broadcast to the entire world, would I be proud of it:, if every person made this particular choice, would the world be a better place? These, among other questions, help me align my decision-making to my value system to ensure that every decision I undertake is ethical.
Ethics is an important topic for instructors and leaders. It lays the foundation on their behavior and practices once they begin their professional work. It enriches their perspective, preparing them in handling the delicate minds of the children that will be in their care in the future. For example, an instructor will be able to impart classroom practices that are beyond the written rules. Every school/classroom has rules set to regulate the behaviors of the community. Such rules are often laid down as; No fighting, No chewing, No bullying, among others. However, having learnt ethics, an instructor teaches the students the underlying reasons why they should refrain from certain behaviors for the greater good of all. Alternatively, such rules could be translated into standards of behavior that the student will carry well into their adulthood. For example, No bullying could be expressed as, we do not bully others but treat everyone with respect, in a way that cannot cause harm. Creating such a guideline, with the involvement of the students, creates more commitment from all participants, creating a secure environment in which they can all accomplish their set standards.
Such an approach helps in developing a framework where virtues, rather than rules and duties govern the behaviors. Therefore, the end result is excellence in character of the students. There are norms and expectations that govern interactions within the classroom. Ethical principles in this respect, relate to cooperative and rational norms that are prioritized over the self-interests of the participants, denoting sensitivity to multicultural understanding, civility, and tolerance (Toprak et al., 2010). An ethical classroom is ideally a place of learning, nurturing, sharing, trust, and personal growth (Pittella, n. d). Students within such an environment gain an in-built consciousness and respect for ethical concepts, such as fairness, justice, goodness, sense of self, and responsibility not to do harm.
In my past role as an instructor, I have used ethics in governing my actions. My classroom comprised of students from diverse racial, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds. My value system includes treating everybody fairly and respecting them regardless of the status or background. Thus, as an instructor, I sought to create an inclusive classroom where every student felt as a valuable member of a group with a common and significant goal. I sought to ensure that every student felt that their contributions and perspectives were equally valued and respected. I achieved this through various strategies that included, clearly setting down the classroom norms and practices that took into account the wide range of backgrounds and characteristics of the students. The classroom values were created together with the students to ensure that my cultural assumptions and personal values did not influence the classroom’s system, and I built and maintained meaningful relationships with my students that were based on mutual trust and respect. Ethics play an integral part in an instructor’s or leaders decision-making and actions. For instructors, ethics determine the effectiveness of their teaching in the classroom. Creating an ethical classroom helps the students feel safe and comfortable, facilitating the achievement of higher learning outcomes. Without such a setting, instructional strategies can rarely be effective. Ethics help in the creation of a sound educational framework within which real learning can occur.
- Drumwright, M., Prentice, R., & Biasucci, C., (2015). Behavioral Ethics and teaching Ethical Decision-making. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 13(3).
- Pittella, R., n. d. Creating an Ethical Classroom. Teaching Monster. Retrieved from http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/3522-creating-an-ethical-classroom
- Schultz, R. A. (2005). Contemporary Issues in Ethics and Information Technology. Washington: IRM Press.
- Toprak, E., et al., (2010). Ethics in E-learning. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 9(2).