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Creating an Ethical School Climate

The Code outlines several areas which detail the ethical expectations for teachers and the classroom culture they create:

  • Professional educators shall exhibit consistent and equitable treatment of students, fellow educators and parents. They shall respect the civil rights of all and not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, culture, religion, sex or sexual orientation, marital status, age, political beliefs, socioeconomic status, disabling condition or vocational interest. This list of bases or discrimination is not all-inclusive.
  • Professional educators shall accept the value of diversity in educational practice. Diversity requires educators to have a range of methodologies and to request the necessary tools for effective teaching and learning.
  • Professional educators shall impart to their students principles of good citizenship and societal responsibility.
  • Professional educators shall exhibit acceptable and professional language and communication skills. Their verbal and written communications with parents, students and staff shall reflect sensitivity to the fundamental human rights of dignity, privacy and respect.
  • Professional educators shall be open-minded, knowledgeable and use appropriate judgment and communication skills when responding to an issue within the educational environment.
  • Professional educators shall keep in confidence information obtained in confidence in the course of professional service unless required to be disclosed by law or by clear and compelling professional necessity as determined by the professional educator.
  • Professional educators shall exert reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions which interfere with learning or are harmful to the student's health and safety.

22 Pa. Code §§235.1 – 235.11.

Each of the provisions address a different facet of the teaching profession. Woven together, they help to form a complete picture of the standards for practice of an ethical teacher and the classroom practices that an ethical teacher should employ.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who was your favorite teacher? Why? Identify the ethical dimensions inherent in the reasons you cite.
  2. What is your philosophy of teaching? How does your philosophy of teaching communicate your personal ethical code?
  3. How can a teachers’ individual lessons, classroom activities and interactions with students implicitly communicate an ethical perspective?