Professional Ethics for Educators

Everyday, educators come together both in and out of our schools in order to promote social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural success for all students, thus enabling them to function to their highest potential in an ever-changing society. This includes promoting and supporting inclusive and ethical models when working with exceptional children.

The data from assessments are invaluable, and must be used in Proactive and Ethical ways to support the special needs and exceptionalities of our students. Assessment can include both formal and informal procedures such as classroom observations, file reviews, case histories, interviews, checklists, and the review of other professional assessments of the child (i.e. from our multidisciplinary team of: educators, psychologists, paediatricians, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and registered social workers). The data from such psycho-educational assessments absolutely must also serve as the basis for recommendations concerning intervention strategies for parents and teachers alike.

Therefore, when dealing with data assessment, following these 5 ethical principles are essential preserve the dignity of students.

5 Ethical Principles:

1. Respect for Rights of the Student:

  • Be proactive, not reactive. Educators must participate only in the activities that would respect the rights and dignity of the client.  Responsibility to the students and parents should be a first priority.

2. Boundaries of Competence:

  • Always work within personal boundaries of professional competence! When working with a student with special needs, then be willing to demonstrate Humility and an openness to obtain the help of experts in order to learn what is necessary to work with those students. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to engage in confidential consultation with other professionals regarding assessment procedures and evaluation of student. This is also beneficial to open up opportunities to gain new perspectives on appropriate information from assessment and parents, while also safeguarding the dignity of all stakeholders.
  • Referral! It is important for counsellors to recognize their personal and professional boundaries of competence, because the Educator is accountable to the student and parents. It is therefore essential to recognize when the client may be in need of services that cannot be provided within the current situation. If after consultation regarding uncertainties, an educator realises an inability to be of professional assistance, then seek out and offer appropriate alternatives in referring to other resources.

3. Consultation and Supervision:

  • Act proactively and seek out appropriate supervision and consultation with respect to doubts and uncertainties about working with unfamiliar exceptionalities.

4. Primary Responsibility is to Students and Parents: 

  • Respect the rights and dignity of the student first!
  • Interventions and educational instruction strategies need to remain consistent with the abilities and circumstances of the client!
  • Make it a Primary responsibility to work collaboratively with all parties, and devise an integrated plan for reasonable promise of success for the student, school and parents.
5. Confidentiality: 
  • Discussion of student information that is obtained within an educational setting needs to be limited in the transition to persons clearly involved.  Any written and oral reports need to be restricts to the data for purposes of consultation and, every effort should made to protect student identity and avoid undue invasion of privacy for the student.
  • Information regarding behavioural and academic areas should only shared with parents and appropriate staff working directly with the case.

Preserving the dignity of all students, not just students with special needs, is of utmost importance in our educational systems. Therefore, following these 5 ethical principles can have infinite positive effects in the lives of students, parents, teachers, and educational system when working with all students.

Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Students Accessing Inappropriate Sites at School ?!?

 

Since the dawn of internet being available in our schools, there have always been students accessing inappropriate sites at school. Up until recently, many school boards have imposed internet ‘filters’ to block inappropriate sites, and to prevent students from engaging in Social Media while at school. However, in this day in age, filters have become more and more complicated, and with many school boards opting to lift the sheer number of filters at play, we as educators need to understand how to effectively help our students manage technology and the internet.

The lifting of filters may sound shocking to some people however, because with less filters, students can access even more inappropriate sites, including Social Media sites that provide distractions.  Anything and everything is instantly available at our fingertips. Further, we end up asking many more questions including those that address the interrelationships between internet and social media behaviours and physical and emotional behaviours that can manifest within a learning environment.

Our teaching practice can evolve to incorporate these realities into our existing curriculum!

Many of us would like to believe that we can keep our schools walled and safe from negative outside sources, but the truth is, we cannot anymore. (Especially with more and more schools adopting a BYOD strategy.)

The truth is, that we as Educators need to be aware that students will always try to access inappropriate sites. We have a new reality at our fingertips, and we need to strive toward new and innovative ways,  to ensure our schools remain safe places for students to learn and take risks, and without worry that they will be socially or emotionally harmed in any way.

5 Ways our schools can be proactive:

1.  Have active digital citizenship documents within every school. Personalize these documents to that school and community.

2.  Have clear and equitable BYOD policies within your school. All schools have staff and students who are bringing their own device – and even if there are no ‘official’ policies, how many of us have allowed students to use them?? Understand and set clear parameters when students can use them, when they can’t; where devices can be safe and secured, what devices will be available to those students who do not have them.

3.  Set clear parameters for internet usage, reinforce them, and embed them into daily practice. These parameters cannot be effectively reinforced and embedded when students are only using computers for one period, once a week. We need a new mind-shift that incorporates this kind of critical thinking into other periods of the day, everyday.

4.  Provide students with safe and educational options for using, and interacting with each other on the internet. Give them a clear purpose, and safe options.

5.  Never forget good pedagogical practices. Continue to use effective teaching strategies and practices, and always promote Higher order thinking skills for our students to use and apply to situations outside of the school environment.

We can all work together to help each other educate our students about the great big world that exists on the internet, each and every day. Our students look up to us as leaders, and also look toward us for safety and security. We can still provide this for our students, they need us more than ever.

Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Edtech, Boundaries of Competence, Student Success

When educators talk about all of the great ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, it is easy to make education about the technology and not the message or curriculum, or the whole student. However, it is wise to start with the learning goals that are based on the curriculum and needs of the students.

We want to consider the following question: How can we use our knowledge and tools to foster not just higher order thinking skills and understanding, but to also enable students to learn more about themselves and others?

Student Success as defined by Ministry’s of Education is about meeting the interests, needs, and strengths of all students and engaging them in learning. However, I believe that this definition needs to be further tweaked to encompass the concept of students having attained equity and justice, such as with our FNMI students. We can promote our students interests, needs, strengths, and promote equity and justice for FNMI students with the effective use of technological tools.

It is important to not fall into the trap of being ‘taken in’ by the latest and greatest fads, without knowledge and understanding of how to appropriately use with students. Technology use is not about the newest apps, or newest tools. It is about how we can use it to connect with others, and make meaningful connections to enhance learning and understanding. Start with Learning goals, and then decide and plan the tools to meet our goals. For instance, learning goals that align with Board Improvement Plans may discuss the infusion of First Nations, Metis & Inuit (FNMI) culture into the classroom. Technology can be used bring Aboriginal culture via social media into the classroom, and help our classrooms integrate FNMI knowledge.

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It is easy for educators to get caught up in the ‘mechanics’ of the tools we use to promote learning. There are a lot of ‘should’s’ and ‘musts’ when it comes to incorporating the newest technological fads and ‘flavours’ of the month. However, educators are the most ethical and effective when we work within our own Boundaries of Competence, and strive to educate the whole student.

3 steps to begin to move toward the competent use of technology with your learners:

1. Identify what you need

2. Create your learning goals

3. Seek out support to meet those goals from various places including Professional Learning Networks on Twitter!

What strategies do you use to work within your own boundaries of competence?

 

Deborah McCallum

Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ethical Principles for Educators: Promoting the Dignity of all Students

 

Image from Wesley Fryer

Image from Wesley Fryer

Everyday, educators come together both in and out of our schools in order to promote social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural success for all students, thus enabling them to function to their highest potential in an ever-changing society. This includes promoting and supporting inclusive and ethical models when working with exceptional children.

The data from assessments are invaluable, and must be used in proactive and ethical ways to support the special needs and exceptionalities of our students. Assessment can include both formal and informal procedures such as classroom observations, file reviews, case histories, interviews, checklists, and the review of other professional assessments of the child (i.e. from our multidisciplinary team of: educators, psychologists, paediatricians, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and registered social workers). The data from such psycho-educational assessments absolutely must also serve as the basis for recommendations concerning intervention strategies for parents and teachers alike.

Therefore, when dealing with data from the assessment, following these 5 ethical principles are of utmost importance in order to preserve the dignity of students, including those with exceptional  needs.

5 Ethical Principles when working with students with exceptional learners:

1. Respect for Rights of the Student:

  • Be proactive, not reactive. Educators must participate only in the activities that would respect the rights and dignity of the client.  Responsibility to the students and parents should be a first priority.

2. Boundaries of Competence:

  • Always work within personal boundaries of professional competence! When working with a student with special needs, then be willing to demonstrate Humility and an openness to obtain the help of experts in order to learn what is necessary to work with those students. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to engage in confidential consultation with other professionals regarding assessment procedures and evaluation of student. This is also beneficial to open up opportunities to gain new perspectives on appropriate information from assessment and parents, while also safeguarding the dignity of all stakeholders.
  • Referral! It is important for counsellors to recognize their personal and professional boundaries of competence, because the Educator is accountable to the student and parents. It is therefore essential to recognize when the client may be in need of services that cannot be provided within the current situation. If after consultation regarding uncertainties, an educator realises an inability to be of professional assistance, then seek out and offer appropriate alternatives in referring to other resources.

3. Consultation and Supervision:

  • Act proactively and seek out appropriate supervision and consultation with respect to doubts and uncertainties about working with unfamiliar exceptionalities.

4. Primary Responsibility is to Students and Parents: 

  • Respect the rights and dignity of the student first!
  • Interventions and educational instruction strategies need to remain consistent with the abilities and circumstances of the client!
  • Make it a primary responsibility to work collaboratively with all parties, and devise an integrated plan for reasonable promise of success for the student, school and parents.
5. Confidentiality: 
  • Discussion of student information that is obtained within an educational setting needs to be limited in the transition to persons clearly involved.  Any written and oral reports need to be restricts to the data for purposes of consultation and, every effort should made to protect student identity and avoid undue invasion of privacy for the student.
  • Information regarding behavioural and academic areas should only shared with parents and appropriate staff working directly with the case.

Preserving the dignity of all students, not just students with special needs, is of utmost importance in our Educational Systems. Therefore, following these 5 ethical principles can have infinite positive effects in the lives of students, parents, teachers, and educational system when working with students of special needs and exceptionalities.

Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.