What to do? An exploration of ethical issues for principals and school counsellors

Campbell, Marilyn A. (2004) What to do? An exploration of ethical issues for principals and school counsellors. Principia: Journal of the Queensland Secondary Principals' Association, 1, pp. 7-9.

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There are many difficult and challenging ethical situations in today’s schools. The potential for conflict in these situations can be exacerbated by differences in the roles and responsibilities of personnel within the school. However, there is often very little open discussion of the ethics upon which the choices to be made in these difficult situations are based. One such potential conflict area is between the school principal and the school guidance counsellor.

Ethical issues are part of everyday life in schools. They frequently arise from decisions which require value judgements about doing the right thing, or saying the good or best thing in a particular situation. Although doing the ‘right thing’ seems easy enough most times, when an ethically difficult situation arises, it may cause individuals to examine their ethics in practice.

Campbell (2001) asserts that teaching is inherently a moral endeavour with principals, teachers and the whole school community struggling with ethically complex realities in their day-to-day work. Further, teachers, in the main are of good character. According to a Greek study cited in Tirri (1999) teachers ranked very high in their moral reasoning on Kohlberg’s scale. Moral reasoning, however, although a precondition to ethical behaviour, is not sufficient to acting ethically. It is often, however, assumed that teachers will do the ‘right thing’, and in doing so ethics and moral principles may simply become part of the hidden curriculum. That is, the principles on which teachers act are so embedded in practice that they are generally not discussed, examined nor talked about. Yet, as Lyons (1990) has shown, a majority of teachers report that they have difficulty in resolving real life ethical dilemmas.

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ID Code: 4336
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: ethicals issues, principals, school counsellors, schools
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Counselling (130305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Learning Sciences (130309)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 QSPA Inc.
Deposited On: 30 May 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2015 05:10

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