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Katie Lightowler

on 23 August 2013

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Transcript of Ethics

Questions to start us off..

It is time to elect the world leader, and yours is the deciding vote. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates:

Candidate A:
He associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologers. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks up to ten Martinis a day.
Candidate B:
He was ejected from office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a large amounts of whisky every evening.
Candidate C:
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and hasn't had any extra-marital affairs.

Which of these candidates would be your choice?

L vs. Minister for Ed
(Tait 2004)
L was diagnosed with "global development delay".

L has strong behaviour management issues. Some including: Crying, Lack of concentration, limited vocab. and hygeine problems
What are virtue ethics?
“The doctrine that emphasises moral character, rather than the outcomes or intrinsic qualities of particular actions.” (Tait, 2013.)

What are consequentialist ethics?
“The doctrine that actions should be judged right or wrong on the basis of their consequences.” (Tait, 2013.)

Overview of Presentation
1. General Introduction & an analysis of Ethics
2. Theoretical understanding of
Meta-ethics and Normative ethics
4. Case study - L Vs. Minister of Education
- What are the ethical respinsibility of a teacher
5. Applied ethics
6. Activity & discussion

question one:
question two:
If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had eight children already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?
Principles of virtue ethics
- An action is only right if it is an action that a virtuous person would carry out in the same circumstances.

- A virtuous person is a person who acts virtuously

- A person acts virtuously if they "possess and live the virtues"

- A virtue is a moral characteristic in which one chooses to live their life by.

The traditional list of cardinal virtues:
-It centres ethics
on the person and what it
means to be human

-It includes the whole
of a person's life

-It doesn't provide clear
guidance on what to do
in moral dilemmas
or specific ethical problems

-There is no concrete
agreement on which
virtues are important
Principles of consequentialist ethics
-Whether an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act

-The greater consequences an act produces, the better or more right that act is.

What are ethics?
How do I explain ethics?
Is it just right or wrong?
Is knowledge about ethics a crucial part of being a good teacher?
Thinking of Ethics in a Range of Ways
1. A term often used synonymously with 'morals'

2. A set of principles derived from moral values

3. A body of theoretical study

The most fundamental dispute in the field of Meta-Ethics is between Moral Realism and Moral Anti-Realism
Prudential Reasoning

Moral Reasoning
2. Why be moral?
What we want and benifits us most.
Belief that it's the right thing to do morally.
Example: Stealing from someone
Candidate A is Franklin D Roosevelt,
Candidate B is Winston Churchill,
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

And by the way the answer to the abortion question... If you said yes, you just killed Beethoven.

- flexible
-take account of any set of circumstances, howvever exeptional
-objective, rational

- how do you make calculation objectively?
- who decides what factors result in greater good?
-right of individuals doesnt have a large say
- little regard for the minority
What are kantian etics?
“The doctrine that actions should be judged right or wrong on the basis of their intrinsic qualities, not on their consequences.” (Tait, 2013.)

Principles of kantian ethics
-ethics are concerned
with what people do, not with
the consequences of their
-Do the right thing.
-Do it because it's the
right thing to do.
- Don't do wrong things.
- Avoid them because they are wrong.

Catagorical imperative:
-The basis of all other rules (a rule that is true in all circumstances.)

Practical imperative:
-Act so that you treat humanity, both in your own person and in that of another, always as an end and never merely as a means.

The Invention of Lying
Applied Ethics
- ethics for the teacher

-teaching ethics as a subject/ topic to your class
Teaching ethics?
• Today our schools focus a great deal of time focusing on academics, the “head” and not enough on the “heart”

Teaching ethics at school:

- allows students to think critically about their own opinions on a topic rather than memorizing others thoughts

- creates classroom culture that fosters relationships and respectful participation

- challenges views of all students on inappropriate behaviour and standing up for principles

How is ethics taught?
- Early childhood & primary : through Philosophy

- High school:
through Religion and Ethics or Ethics alone

Teaching ethics boosts students ability to do well in school?
studies to look into:

Streight, D. 2012. High School Ethics: Between quarter potential and Half. Retrieved from:

Ruggiero, V. 1997, Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues, Mayfield Publishing Co., Mountain View, California.
High school students:
Primary school students:
Early Childhood:

Law, S. (2003). The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Streight, D. 2012. High School Ethics: Between quarter potential and Half. Retrieved from:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2011).Ethical Undestanding. Canberra: ACARA. Retrieved from :

Ruggiero, V. 1997, Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues, Mayfield Publishing Co., Mountain View, California.

Tait G. 2004. Disability and the Ethical Resppnsibilites of the Teacher: Issues arising from the case of L v Minister for Education. Australia

Tait, G., & Burnett, B. (2013). EB003 Practising Education: Lecture 3 [Lecture Notes]. Retrieved from
Discuss with people in your group if you have observed or experienced some unethical behaviour?
In the Beginning
In your groups, decide whether L should be removed from the classroom and ultimiately suspended from the school

Justify you're conclusion
"It seems to me that other considerations, such as the stresses placed on teaching staff at Beta (the school) without specialist training and the disruption entailed to other children, are such as to outweigh the benefits to L and constitute unjustifiable hardship to the Department should it be compelled to accept L back into the Beta School."
- L v Minister of Education, 1996)
Consider this

You could give L a good lesson, or you could give the remainder of the class a good lesson, but you cant do both (Butler, 1995)
Under these circumstances, the maximum social good was deemed to lie with L's removal - althrough against her wishes and those of her mother.
(Tait 2004)
Where does the removal of a disruptive student stop?
Disruption caused to other children, all because presense of someone with a different colour skin, different religion. (Tait 2004).

Should all disruptive students be immediately removed?
What does an Ethical Teacher look like:
Providing a starting point for thinking about ethical teaching behaviour
Ethical Teachers teach effectively through effective pedagogy
- Ethical teachers use a combination of effective, multimodal and multi sensory resources to implement teaching practices that empower student learning.

- Ethical teachers are reflective practitioners. Educators evaluate their teaching pedagogy through midcourse and end-of-course reflective practice and make adjustments where necessary to improve their teaching effectiveness.

Ethical Teachers provide balanced content and free inquiry
-Ethical teachers encourage open discussion of alternative theoretical positions in the classroom.

-Ethical teachers present information and guide students in making informed and objective conclusions based on data.

Ethical Teachers respect all Students
-Teachers establish a classroom atmosphere that is open, respectful, and encouraging of discussions of sensitive topics and that does not disparage or discriminate against individual student perspectives.
Ethical Teachers Foster Academic Integrity
Ethical teachers establish, communicate, and assist students in understanding disciplinary and institutional expectations concerning academic integrity.
Ethical Teachers Use Objective and Fair Assessments
Ethical teachers are aware of factors that may affect fairness in grading. They use best practices to design valid and reliable test questions. Ethical teachers avoid letting unrelated factors or personal biases affect their grading of student assessments (e.g student attendance or classroom behaviour)
Ethical Teachers protect their student's confidentiality
Ethical teachers withhold their responsibility to maintain confidentiality with respect to student performance, classroom behaviour and comments, and personal communications.
Ethical Teachers have Professionally appropriate relationships with their students
Ethical Teachers must be sensitive to maintaining professional and objective relationships with students. Ethical teachers are also sensitive about engaging in behaviours that take advantage of their power in relationships with students.
Looking Closer at QCT Stards in relation to Ethics..

Standard Four:
Design and implement learning experiences that Value diversity.
-Valuing and responding positively to diversity.
-Having positive regard for and empathy and rapport with all students and their families, caregivers and communities.
-Recognising that student engagement and performance is influenced by multiple factors and that students bring particular talents and strengths to learning.
-Ensuring students have equity of access to the curriculum.

Standard Six:
Support personal development and participation in society.
-Fostering the social, emotional and physical development of students.
-Maintaining ethical and professional relations with students and their families, caregivers and communities.
-Creating learning partnerships that foster the active and full social participation of students.

Standard Seven:
Create and maintain safe and supportive learning environments.
-Creating safe, supportive and stimulating learning environments.
-Taking responsibility for establishing and maintaining a positive climate in the classroom and participating in maintaining such a climate in the school as a whole.
-Creating learning environments that model participatory and democratic values.

Standard Eight:
Foster positive and productive relationships with families and the community.
-Promoting the central role of families, caregivers and other community members in students’ education
-Fostering all aspects of students’ wellbeing and working with families and caregivers to provide diverse opportunities for student success.
-Working with families, caregivers and the broader community to improve student learning.

Where is the wrongness & how do we detect
We view certain things – people’s actions – as having moral value, as being right or wrong.

Moral Realism
Moral Anti-Realism
The view that moral value is objective
It's 'out there' independent of us.
According to many Philosophers & Hume (1711-76)
The value is not intrinsic to those actions.
It’s rooted in our experience in how we react emotionally to what we observe.
It’s as if we view the world through morality spectacles.

1. Subjectivism:
To claim personally

2. Intersubjectivism
To claim your community

3. Emotivism
Is not to make a claim at all - rather to express.

Spectacles Model of Morality
3 - Points I wanted to make:
The broad sweep of Ethics (Macro/Micro)
From a whole nation level to a personal leve.
Its relavent because it helps us recognise and organise our own beliefs as a individual and as a teacher.
Ethics overlaps with other disciplines especially law

These are some of the questions I asked myself.
Understanding and explaining questions similar to these are were confusing and hard.
Avoiding separating ethics and morality
People generally mean 3 different things when they about about ethics
Using in a specific way, Moral values build into a codes of Ethics
Majority of study is now concerned with what is refereed to as Meta- Ethics.
Which addresses such questions as:
What is a moral claim?
Are there objective moral facts?
Why do we bother being moral at all?
Where as it has always been devoted to finding the best way to live a 'good' life.
The focus falls on the natures of moral claims themselves.
1. What are Morals?
1. What are Morals and 2. Why be Moral?
In the objective world it is wrong!
Is it something you bring to the analysis from your culture perspective?
Weight of theory and evidence states Anti-Moral Realism is correct
Three verions:
You can not aruge either side
We are born with inherent moral codes.
End result is about what type of person do you want to be?
These questions won't necessarily help us decide how we ought to act or how we can be ethical teachers.
What does an Ethical Teacher look like?
- It protects the rights of the weak, and provides logical support for important moral values

- It does not rely upon predicting outcomes of actions to establish ethical merit. It provides rationaility and certainty

- It is inflexible, and can struggle to account for conflicting duties

- If followed strictly it can produce ethically undesirable outcomes, as it has no room for compasion or sympathy
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