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About Educational Ethics

The term educational ethics denotes the sub-field of applied ethics which incorporates debate about the scope, purposes and theories of professional ethics in teaching and the moral work of teachers. Educational ethics is a field which considers ethical problems and dilemmas specific to the complexities of education, with a view to assisting educators, educational policy-makers and school communities to clarify these context-specific problems and making ethical recommendations for their resolution.  It includes the history and development of educational policies with a particular focus on its potential or actual ethical implications for school administration, teachers, school students, school communities and others; the analysis and articulation of teacher ethical obligations including but not limited to codes of conduct and ethics in teaching; research relating to ethical conduct, manner and the moral life of schools, the investigation of models and theories of ethical beliefs and decision-making in relation to tertiary, school and child care education; and pedagogical dimensions, interventions or curriculum for teaching and learning professional ethics with initial and in-service teachers.

Many schools are facing particularly complex moral environments due to rapidly changing student and community demographics, resource limitations, curriculum and policy challenges and greater awareness of global issues. In morally complex environments such as schooling, most teachers at some point face difficulties associated with making ethical decisions and responding to critical situations and incidents. Our group aims to co-develop with teachers, rich descriptions of these difficult challenges to create products which support teacher professional thinking about ethics. We have established a research program about the challenges of educational ethics and professional practice in Australian schools.