Ethical Challenges?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DreamToTeach, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. DreamToTeach

    DreamToTeach Companion

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    Apr 7, 2008

    Hello! I am still in college and we have an assignment to ask those in the profession what they feel are the ethical challenges facing teachers today. We are suppose to consider what the challenges might be and how we would handle them. If anyone has a spare minute do you mind sharing some thoughts? Thanks!
     
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  3. manatee23

    manatee23 Rookie

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    Apr 7, 2008

    Although I don’t know if this will really fit into your idea of an ethical debate, here is my suggestion: Mainstreaming or inclusion as it is sometimes called; Personally I feel that yes, we all have a moral obligation to these students, and they do need to be in regular settings as much as possible, however it can and often does a huge disservice to the other students in the class, mostly do to lack of funding and training for the teachers involved. That’s a big can of worms if you are willing to open it. I do teach an “inclusion” biology class, it has a motley crew of students half of which have been “mainstreamed” the other half are your “typical” high school students and it presents as a slew of learning issues. My biggest problem I have had all year is with one student who has an IEP that states they are allowed to retake or redo every assignment, quiz or test in which they receive lower than a C on. This student will often tell others in the class, “yeah, I got on F on the test, but now I have the answer key and I am taking it again on Monday..” which is basically true, legally I have to go over the test with him/her and then re-give the exact same test. How does this create a fair and balanced learning environment, where I now have to deflect the other students wants to retake the test and basically tell them no, they just didn’t study enough..?? It’s a tough situation, in my school we have department tests also which all Biology students must take and a passing mark is required for graduation. So I have half the class depending on me to give them the knowledge they need in order to graduate and the other half of the students are all on special diploma so they don’t really need it. I try and do as many layered or alternative assignments as possible, but not every thing can be set up this way. I have really struggled all year with this and it just seems no matter which way I go, half the class is getting let down, either the mainstreamed half or the “regular” half. This was my first year taking on this challenge, and I can already see a lot of what I need to do differently, but it does beg the question; should this kind of situation even be allowed?
     
  4. DreamToTeach

    DreamToTeach Companion

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    Apr 7, 2008

    Thank you! I think this is very interesting. I appreciate it.
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Apr 7, 2008

    An ethical challenge that has come up more than once is - what do you do about a co-worker who is behaving badly? How long do you let bad behavior go on before you are morally obligated to speak up? Such as, yelling at children, humiliating children, drinking on the job, sluffing off the job . . . it is a tough decision to know when to step in.
     
  6. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Confidentiality can become a kind of ethical dilemma. We are legally bound to maintain student confidentiality in all things--then you deal with the questions of :who needs to know information about specific students in order to effectively care for them and address their needs? When does your need to vent (and we all need to vent) violate a student's privacy? How do you get around that? It sounds simple on paper, and you can easily say "this is what you should do," but in practice, it's easy to cross that line. Sometimes I say to colleagues "we really should not be talking about that"--and sometimes I have to say it to myself. No one is entirely immune!

    One we face in sped--the law requires a free APPROPRIATE public education (FAPE) for all students. Appropriate is not always "BEST". You will have parents ask for something for a student, and you know it would be the best for that student, but you also know what the student is getting is adequate and the district is not obligated to pay for it. As a teacher, you're stuck. And then there are team meetings--in special education, you have a lot of meetings for students. Your boss expects you to agree with the school system--and sometimes you don't, sometimes you agree with the parents, who can be fighting against the school. Where do you side? Do you fight for what you think is best for the student, at risk of your job? Do you take the school's side? Do you try to remain neutral and let the parents and your boss deal with it? Any choice puts you in unpleasant places.
     
  7. DreamToTeach

    DreamToTeach Companion

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    Apr 8, 2008

    Thanks for the input! I really appreciate it. It seems that as teachers, we have a lot of ethical challenges. I am entering a very challenging profession from every aspect, aren't I? Yet, I am so driven and excited. Thanks again!
     
  8. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Apr 8, 2008

    I think the biggest "ethical" challenge today is how we as educators let politicians basically dictate what we teach, how we teach and how we make assessements and grade our kids.
    Its incredible to me how a profession can bullied and lead around by the nose. I can think of no other profession that is told how and what to do. I know many are regulated but we are micro-managed by whatever ruling power happens to sit in the state capital.
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Little overstated Stephenpe - ? How about the medical profession, lawyers . . . they are very regulated and frustrated also. I will agree with your implication that government needs to back out of our lives, not get more involved.

    Sorry, I am a spoiled teacher and I know it. I work in a school that still bases its decisions on common sense and child centered learning. I know I don't "get it" like you who are in the trenches.
     
  10. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Apr 8, 2008

    Did I just hijack????? Sorry.
     
  11. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Apr 8, 2008

    The inclusion and confidentiality are great examples of ethical dilemmas in education.

    Don't know if this counts as an ethical dilemma per se or if it's just a more logistical problem -- but the whole NCLB debate... can you judge teachers based on their students' performance? Standardized testing in general is also an ongoing issue. Again, not sure if it's ethical or just otherwise controversial, but some food for thought.
     
  12. DreamToTeach

    DreamToTeach Companion

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    Apr 9, 2008

    Thanks. That did come up in the discussion during class last night. There are definitely important issues that we as teachers, and future teachers, need to consider and be aware of. It's a crazy world!
     

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