Notes: Ethics & Education 4: Fishbowl discussion – Why are ethics important in the teaching profession?

Yesterday we moved all the furniture around to set up for a fishbowl discussion based on the introductory seminars (see earlier Ethics & Education posts for background). We had five chairs like a panel at the front, with the rest of us acting as the audience. The only people who could speak were those on the panel, and if others wanted to contribute to the discussion they have to sit at the front also. The chairs were hot-seats with four people beginning the panel, leaving one chair empty and waiting for another participant from the audience. By the end of the 90 minute session just about everyone in the class had spent some time on the panel, posing questions, answering others, describing experiences and debating points of difference.

The notes I took are a mess, but as you can imagine it was impossible to write down everything that was being discussed, especially when I was in the panel myself! Some key points covered were: whether we need codes of ethics, role of legislation, religion and spirituality as ethical guides, society’s expectations, universality of values, dealing with diversity, conflict between personal and professional ethics, transmission of ethics and the need for transparency.

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Notes: Ethics & Education 3: Why is being an educator an “ethical profession”?

Ed logo 1.jpgIn these seminars we looked at metaphors in common images about the role of education and those who provide it, such as the central place in humanity, torch to guide and enlighten, global connection, literacy, peace and hope, working together etc. ed-logo-2

We also discussed what constitutes a “profession” and compared the teaching profession to others, and the value placed on them.

We explored some fascinating questions about education being value-laden, our extra responsibilities as we’re dealing with children who are always more vulnerable than adults, managing relationships with other partners  involved (such as parents, school admin, Ministry), how we as teachers are models for our students whether we like it or not, what happens when our personal ethics conflict with professional ones, whether the transmission of values (whose values?) is our responsibility and how best to do this, the hidden curriculum…

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Notes: Ethics & Education 2: The role of moral consciousness in identity and the “self”

Unfortunately I was unwell for the first seminar on this topic, but I was able to catch up on some of the ideas discussed in the Zhou and Biesta reading about Confucianism vs the Reflexive Project of the Self in lifelong learning was fascinating. In class we explored the ideas of good vs bad and the development of the moral consciousness, the relationship between professional/legal/personal ethics, action vs inaction, and global ethics.

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Notes: Ethics & Education 1: Intro – teaching is “moral by nature”

The notes I made for this introduction to the Ethics and Education course are brief because we spent some time looking at the course outline, which I’ve included in these notes (it’s so exciting!). Our discussions explored the idea of teaching as being “moral by its nature” and the range of ethical dilemmas and decisions we face daily in our roles. We also looked briefly at the Finnish education union’s ethical principles, which you can read yourself here.

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Notes: Qualitative Research 4: What is the role of theory in research?

These class notes are from today’s seminar about the role of theory in our research. We reflected on what we learned last week about paradigms, discussed the definition of “theory”, where theories are present (spoiler: everywhere), how theories are used in research, building our own theoretical frameworks, and the difference between a theoretical framework and a literature review.

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Notes: Qualitative Research 3: What do I want to do? From aim to realisation

These class notes build on the reading about paradigms in social science research and briefly detail some of the paradigms commonly used in social science and education research. Paradigms covered here include positivism and post-positivism, constructivism and interpretivist approaches, critical theories for emancipation, deconstruction and re-creation by using theory as method.

We explored which approaches fit best with our own world-views and where there might be overlap with complementary paradigms, why we need to be careful using more than one paradigm in our research despite feeling they fit together, ontological and epistemological assumptions about truth/knowledge that are the basis of these paradigms, and questioning whether paradigms are useful or unhelpful concepts at all!

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