Ethical dilemmas : a model to understand teacher practice

Ehrich, Lisa C., Kimber, Megan, Millwater, Jan, & Cranston, Neil (2011) Ethical dilemmas : a model to understand teacher practice. Teachers and Teaching : Theory and Practice, 17(2), pp. 173-185.

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Over recent decades, the field of ethics has been the focus of increasing attention in teaching. This is not surprising given that teaching is a moral activity that is heavily values-laden. Because of this, teachers face ethical dilemmas in the course of their daily work. This paper presents an ethical decision-making model that helps to explain the decision-making processes that individuals or groups are likely to experience when confronted by an ethical dilemma. In order to make sense of the model, we put forward three short ethical dilemma scenarios facing teachers and apply the model to interpret them. Here we identify the critical incident, the forces at play that help to illuminate the incident, the choices confronting the individual and the implications of these choices for the individual, organization and community. Based on our analysis and the wider literature we identify several strategies that may help to minimize the impact of ethical dilemmas. These include the importance of sharing dilemmas with trusted others; having institutional structures in schools that lessen the emergence of harmful actions occurring; the necessity for individual teachers to articulate their own personal and professional ethics; acknowledging that dilemmas have multiple forces at play; the need to educate colleagues about specific issues; and the necessity of appropriate preparation and support for teachers. Of these strategies, providing support for teachers via professional development is explored more fully.

Impact and interest:

17 citations in Scopus
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19 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 41927
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: ethical dilemmas, teachers, ethical decision-making model, scenarios
DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2011.539794
ISSN: 1354-0602
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an electronic version of an article published in [Teachers and Teaching : Theory and Practice, 17(2), pp. 173-185]. [Teachers and Teaching : Theory and Practice] is available online at informaworld
Deposited On: 07 Jun 2011 21:51
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 11:51

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