Developing and Documenting a Code of Ethics for
the Professionals in the field of Education


By

Dr. Kumuda Tripathy
M.A., Ph.D.
Faculty Member
ICFAI Business School
Pune, Aundh-411 007

Mrs. Smita Chavan
M.Sc. M.C.M.

Mrs. Rupali Jain
M.Sc. MBA
 


Introduction :

Ethics is concerned with the norms of human social behavior. It is that study of human behaviour which propounds the supreme good of human life and which formulates the judgements of right and wrong and good and evil. The Brthadaranyaka Upanishad sums up a whole ethical philosophy in three words: Daammyat, datta and dayadhvam - self-control, charity and compassion. (These are the three Ds which T.S. Eliot uses in his poem 'The Wasteland' as the message from the ancient world to the conflict-ridden modern world.)

Both the Vedic writings and Platonism viewed ethics as somehow inherent in the very structure of the universe. They were a code of conduct that could be learned as a sort of knowledge by the wise. In both cases ethical philosophy recommended codes and duties as being the basis for right living and right action.

Ethics in Education :

The education sector - by including teaching / learning of ethical values and behaviors in the b-school curricula- is regarded today as a major component of strategies to fight corruption. It is therefore, of vital importance to ensure integrity and limit unethical behaviours within the education sector itself. Otherwise, in a 'corrupt environment' education cannot successfully promote ethical values and behaviors. A large number of factors contribute to the lack of transparency in the management of the education sector. When looking at various areas in management, it is possible to identify for each, potentially corrupt practices, and their impact on the education system.

Several countries have tried to address the challenge of improving teachers' behavior and enforcing codes of conduct. (i)teachers are neglecting their mainstream duties in favor of tutorial work; (ii)public facilities are being used for private interest; (iii)pressures are being exerted on parents to pay for private tutoring;(iv)distortions are occurring in the way the curriculum is taught to encourage private tutoring; and (v) pupils are penalized when not attending private sessions. The case of Hong Kong is regarded as very convincing: it involves both a transparent approach in the preparation of the codes; wide dissemination; training of teachers; establishment of a council for monitoring the implementation and adoption of handling procedures. (Giacalone, 2003)

Ethics in Profession :

In defining a profession's practical ideal, it is important to operate within the parameters of three basic axiological principles: First, one should consider human beings within the democratic context of their lives. Second, the concrete social and cultural values within which one practices the profession must be considered. Finally, three, one must define the essence and the goal of the profession.  (Kasher Asa , 2003)

Can Ethics be Taught ?

In a recent editorial, the Wall Street Journal ( Kasher Asa , 2003) announced that ethics courses are useless because ethics can't be taught. The issue raised by the newspaper is a serious one: Can ethics be taught? The issue is an old one. Almost 2500 years ago, the philosopher Socrates debated the question with his fellow Athenians. Socrates' position was clear: Ethics consists of knowing what we ought to do, and such knowledge can be taught. Most psychologists today would agree with Socrates. In an overview of contemporary research in the field of moral development, psychologist James Rest summarized the major findings as follows:

  • Dramatic changes occur in young adults in their 20s and 30s in terms of the basic problem-solving strategies they use to deal with ethical issues.
  • The extent to which change occurs is associated with the number of years of formal education (college or professional school).
  • Deliberate educational attempts (formal curriculum) to influence awareness of moral problems and to influence the reasoning or judgment process have been demonstrated to be effective.

Can ethics be taught? If you look at the hard evidence psychologists have amassed, the answer is yes.( ethics@scu.edu )

Framework for ethical decision making:

Ethics or morality decides the standards of action and character traits. The following steps help ethical decision making.

Step1: -Recognize the moral issue:

Is there something wrong or a damaging conflict?
Is the issue institutional /legal /global /human race?

Step2: - Get the facts

The next step in analyzing moral issues is obvious but not always easy.

  • What are the relevant facts of the issue?
  • What are the stakes?
  • What are the options?

Facts by themselves only tell us what is; they do not tell us what ought to be. In addition to getting the facts, resolving an ethical issue also requires an appeal to values.

Step3: - Evaluate the alternative actions from various moral perspectives

We ask who will be affected by each action and what benefits or harms will be derived from each.

Which option would produce most good and do the least damage? Which option respects the right and dignity of all stake holders? Which option would promote common good and help all participate more fully? Which option would enable development of virtues and character traits?

Step4: - Make a Decision:

Considering these perspectives, which of the options is the right thing to do?

    • The ethical action is the one that provides the greatest good for the greatest number.

Step5: - Act, then reflect on the decision latter

  • What was the outcome? What are the lessons learnt?
  • How would you change future decision making?

Problem :

In the above discussed debate, it was seen that ethics can be taught and a novel method to do this could be asking participants to create an ethics training session and accompanying manual for a particular profession / industry. Hence, the purpose of this research study was to demonstrate an example of designing an ethics training session for college teachers, as professionals.

Objectives :

The objective set for the study was "to design / build an ethics training session for the education profession". Thus, the sub objectives decided were

1. Ranking of few chosen ethical issues for college teachers
2. Ranking of suggestions / solutions for the above ethical issues / problems
3. Preparing a manual of code of conduct for college teachers.

Goals of Ethics Training Session :

The study allows to focus on specific ethical dilemmas inherent in a particular industry or profession. This study has fostered a realistic view of ethics as applied skills based discipline to grasp the ambiguities as well as its complexities. Through this training program an integration of thinking through problem definition and solution development is naturally achieved. In taking a learner-focused approach, development of training session helps participants to understand ethics from the stand point of decision maker and his/her goals within the organizations.

Research Methodology :

At the outset, ten ethical issues / problems relevant to the current situation pertaining to college teachers were short listed at a brainstorming session conducted for a focus group of six selected college teachers .The teachers were selected on the basis of experience and good reputation. In the next step, three/four alternative suggestions / solutions to each of the above issues / problems were brainstormed in the same focus group. A structured questionnaire containing the above information was administered to 50 college teachers from 10 different colleges of Pune. The data collected and collated was tabulated into 2*2 matrix frequency table and weighted totals were calculated by giving highest weight to the first rank and lowest weight to the last rank.(if  5 options are there weight 5 to the rank 1 and weight 1 to rank 5). Final ranking of the issues and suggestions was based on the weighted totals. These have been represented graphically& explained. Lastly a manual of code of conduct for college teachers was prepared by choosing the first ranked suggestion / solution to the selected ten ethical issues / problems.

Research Design and Plan:

Universe/population: College teachers of  Pune
Sample unit: College teachers
Sample size: 50
Sampling method: Purposive sampling
Field survey: Administering of questionnaire
Survey tool: Structured questionnaire

Contact method: Personal contact

Flowchart of Methodology - Action Steps
 

Analysis and Interpretation of Data

                                Ethical Values and Norms - for College Teachers

 

 I

II

III

IV

V

Total

Avg Rank

Late Coming

13

17

11

2

10

180

10

Lack of preparation

32

12

2

0

3

217

2

Taking leave without prior Adjustment

19

16

9

4

5

199

5

Cracking substandard jokes in the class

18

15

5

7

4

183

9

Giving Question. For reducing teaching

17

20

5

3

10

196

6

In assessment of students

24

14

5

2

8

203

4

Considering teaching as secondary activity

25

12

8

2

6

207

3

Less devotion and involvement

31

11

4

4

4

223

1

Loos talk about other teacher

23

14

3

5

5

195

7

Acting as informer

21

15

4

4

6

191

8




 


Q.1 Late coming

       

Weighted

Average

 

rank1

rank2

rank3

rank4

 Total

 Rank

1. Ignore, if not affecting the class schedule

6

10

12

8

86

3

2. Strictly monitor with late muster

6

6

12

14

80

4

3.Flexible time table

10

12

8

4

96

2

4.Teacher must have inner urge to come on time

28

4

2

4

132

1


Q.2 Lack of  preparation

 

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

rank1

rank2

rank3

rank4

 Total

 Rank

1.Allocate the subject according to one's interest and proficiency, provide necessary training

20

6

12

2

124

3

2. Monitor the classes by preplanned schedule from each teacher

6

10

12

10

88

4

3.Motivate by rewarding for good performance

20

12

8

2

134

1

4.Every teacher must have internal urge to acquire new knowledge

18

14

4

4

126

2


Q.3 Taking leave without prior adjustment

     

Weighted

Average

 

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

 

1.It's ok!Let students enjoy the off period

2

8

20

42

3

 

2.Take disciplinary action without exception in all such cases

16

12

8

80

1

 

3.It is not possible to do adjustments due to heavy load of others

10

16

4

66

2

 

Q.4 Cracking substandard jokes in the class

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

1. Teacher must realize that it affects teacher's image

20

8

10

86

2

2.Management should have proper feedback system for control

16

16

8

88

1

3.Management should take appropriate action

10

18

8

74

3


Q.5 Giving important questions for reducing  Teaching

 

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

op4

 Total

 Rank

1.It's ok! At least students prepare that much

0

2

12

20

50

4

2. Get question papers set from outsiders

4

10

10

12

78

3

3. Teacher should give importance to learning

26

8

2

0

132

2

4. Have creative ways of evaluating students

22

14

0

4

134

1


Q.6 Partiality in assessment of answer sheets , evaluation, internal marks

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

1.Conduct objective computerized test

10

14

4

62

2

2.Do assessment by outsiders/visiting faculty

8

10

10

54

3

3.Teacher should evaluate according to actual performance

30

0

6

96

1


Q.7 Considering teaching as secondary activity

   

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

1. Give increment in salary according to performance

22

10

2

88

2

2. Load teachers to remain busy

2

6

22

40

3

3.Engage teachers in research/consultancy work

24

16

0

104

1


Q.8 Less devotion, less involvement in college work

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

1.Give responsibilities with proper authority

26

8

4

98

1

2.Allocate work according to one's interest

18

10

4

78

2

3. Offer motivational incentives

14

6

12

66

3

Q.9 Downgrading or talking loosely about other teachers in the class

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

1.Reduce rivalry and unhealthy competition amongst teachers

10

10

12

62

3

2.Upgrade organizational culture

24

8

2

90

2

3.Improve teacher's own value system

28

8

2

102

1


Q.10 Acting as informer or grapevine to higher authorities

 

 

 

Weighted

Average

 

op1

op2

op3

 Total

 Rank

1.Authorities should have transparancy on their dealings

26

4

4

90

2

2.Authorities to give equal treatment to all

22

12

6

96

1

3.Create official channels of commnication

12

18

4

76

3


Design and Implementation of Training Session to Teach Ethics:

In this study we describe an exercise in which participants required to create an ethics training session and accompanying manual for a particular industry / profession. Participants are directed to form group of 5 to 7 members and they work together to develop an ethics training program and accompanying manual i.e. focus on a specific industry / profession. Participants may choose industry/profession like advertising, banking, telecommunication, automobiles, layers, doctors, etc. The issues they must contemplate include the following what are the ethical issues in the industry/profession? What would trainees need to know about ethical issues specific to the industry/ profession? What are the common causes of these ethical dilemmas? What techniques and information would help trainees prevent ethical problems before they arise, prepare them to solve the ethical problems and empower them to feel confident and comfortable with their decisions. Participants are instructed that the focus of the training session is to help trainees improve their recognition and resolution of ethical issues and their subsequent ethical decision making process (Knouse and Giacalone, 1992). They are advised that the focus of the training should clearly be "how to" rather than descriptive. Participants should cover as many relevant issues as possible within the time constraint of a semester. At the end of the semester every group will present it in the class with all details to create live effect. This approach affords variety as well as an ability to focus on how common ethical issues manifest themselves within an industry profession.

The exercise has been done for teaching profession as an example. It could be replicated, with changes, for other industries / profession.

Manual of code of conduct for college teacher:

Ethical Issues / Norms

Recommended conduct

1.Less devotion, less involvement in 
   college work

Give responsibilities with proper authority

2.Lack of preparation (not updating
    knowledge, skills)

Motivate by rewarding for good performance

3.Considering teaching as secondary activity , engaging oneself in other activities

 Engage teachers in research work / consultancy
    on fee-sharing basis

4.Partiality in assessment of answer sheets ,
   evaluation, internal marks,etc

 As a teacher one should evaluate according to
    actual performance of student.

5.Taking leave without prior adjustment

Take disciplinary action without exception, in
   all such cases

6. Giving important questions for reducing 
    teaching

 Have  creative ways of judging students
(Mock tests, surprise tests, open book tests etc)

7. Downgrading or talking loosely about
    other teachers in the class

Upgrade/Improve Teacher's own value system

8.Acting as informer or grapevine to higher
 authorities for receiving favours,
  concessions, etc.

Authorities to give equal treatment to all

9. Cracking substandard jokes in the class
   (for popularity )

Management should have proper feedback
   system through which it can be controlled

10. Late coming

Teacher must have inner urge to come on time


References:

1. Activities Report (1999); Heinz-Horst Deichmann Chair of Business Ethics.

2. Knouse S. B.and Giacalone R. A., (1992) "Ethical decision making in business: Behavioral issues and concerns." Journal of Business Ethics 11, 369, 377

3. Knouse S. B., Giacalone R. A. and Jurkiewics C. A. (2003) "A Capstone Project in Business Ethics: Building an Ethics Program." Journal of Management Education Vol 27 No. 5

4. Kasher A. (2003); "Professional Ethics and its Social Significance" Laura     

Schwarz-Kipp Chair of Professional Ethics of Philosophy of Practice, Tel-Aviv University.

5. Shivramkrishnan V. (Asso. Editor Bhavan's Journal); "The Cultural Heritage of India."

6. Tamari M. (2003); Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility; Jerusalem College of Technology.

www.paricenter.com/conferences/ethics/index.php
 


Dr. Kumuda Tripathy
M.A., Ph.D.
Faculty Member
ICFAI Business School
Pune, Aundh-411 007

Mrs. Smita Chavan
M.Sc. M.C.M.

Mrs. Rupali Jain
M.Sc. MBA
 

Source: E-mail June 21, 2006

     

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