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Ethical Decisions

Ethical decision-making is challenging because teachers are often required to resolve tensions when their professional Code of Ethics is applied:

Balancing the Principles

The ethical principles underlying the Education Council Code of Ethics do not stand in isolation. The four principles exist in a continuing relationship of tension as illustrated in the following diagram:


Balancing the principles


Balancing autonomy, justice, responsible care and truth

Competing Interest Groups

Tensions may also exist between the claims of the four groups to whom teachers have commitments:


Ethical problem


Interest groups are students, parents / guardians & family / whanau, the profession and society


Resolving Tensions

Resolving the competing claims of different ethical principles and different interest groups is usually best achieved through reflective professional discussion where the interests of learners are regarded as being of prime concern.

The process of making ethical decisions requires practice and is worthy of inclusion in both the pre-service education of teachers and their continuing professional development.