Education Leaderships’ Perceptions of Faculty Ethical Decision Making
Ethical decision making and employing ethics when in contact with members of the school community is a practice that should be second nature. Within universities, the teaching of ethics to students pursuing the field of education as a profession is a required topic as a standalone class or within the context of specific coursework to a university program (Darling-Hammond, 2006). Courses include, but not limited to, education policy, teaching in a multicultural society, and the ethics of research. Individuals within the education profession who pursue a higher degree or administrative credential are required to take courses in ethical leadership and decision making, inclusive of specific case study review (Argyropoulou, 2015).
Campbell (2003) explored topics of ethics within the teaching profession; of specific interest, learning to create an ethical culture and applied knowledge of ethics within the classroom and school community. Other pertinent research focused on a professional code of ethics existing in other countries. The Finnish teachers’ ethical sensitivity (Kuusisto, Tirri, & Rissanen, 2012) study examined teacher’s perceived ethical sensitivity within the classroom based on training, reflection on teaching, years within the education profession, and ethical competence. In the United States, a professional code of ethics does not currently exist in the field of education. Campbell (2003, 2008) noted the teaching profession demands attention of the intangibles, those of morality and ethics. Those intangibles can be exhibited in the tone of a teacher’s voice, how resources are chosen, assignments evaluated, and the way the educator conducts oneself with students, colleagues, leadership and administration, and the school community (Campbell, 2003).
Emerging research has demonstrated the benefits of evaluating school climate as an aspect of keeping schools safe. The research had focused on the direct relationship of student and teacher interactions via an ethical climate and principles inclusive of trust and motivation (Schulte et al., 2002; Demir & Karakus, 2015). However, specific research on education leadership and administrators’ observations and perceptions if an ethical climate exists has not been fully examined. In a review of the future focus for leadership, Hannah et al (2008) and Avolio et al (2009) encouraged those in positions of leadership to examine current approaches of decision making by staff, evolve to go beyond expectations, and welcome the challenges of meeting the demands of their school communities. Thus, empirical research on the observations and perceptions of education leadership and administrators and the impact of these observations and perceptions on the climate of the school site was needed to help fully understand the role and relationship of education leaders and administrators to faculty.
The research presented begins with a brief overview of the current research literature. The presentation will share research findings on education leaders/administrators’ observations and perceptions if an ethical climate exists within the school site, how teachers report issues that may be of ethical concerns for possible investigation, and site based or district level training opportunities in the identification of ethical issues.
Argyropoulou, E. (2015). The challenge of ethical leadership university courses: Preparing leaders for an uncertain, turbulent and divert future. Revista Lusófona de Educação, 30, 15-41.
Avolio, B.J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current events theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 421-449.
Campbell, E. (2003). The ethical teacher. Maidenhead, PA: Open University Press.
Campbell, E. (2008). The ethics of teaching as a moral profession. Curriculum Inquiry, 38(4), 357-385.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Powerful teacher education: Lessons from exemplary programs. San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons.
Demir, S., & Karakus, M. (2015). The relationship between ethical climate and trust and motivation levels of teachers and students. Educational Administration: Theory and Practice. 21(2), 183-212.
Hannah, S. T., Avolio, B. J., Luthans, F., & Harms, P. (2008). Leadership efficacy: Review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(Yearly Review of Leadership), 669-692.
Kuusisto, E., Tirri, K., & Rissanen, I. (2012). Finnish teachers’ ethical sensitivity. Education Research International, 2012, 1-10.
Schulte, L. E., Thompson, F., Talbott, J., Luther, A., Garcia, M., Blanchard, S., Conway, L., & Mueller, M. (2002). The Development and Validation of the Ethical Climate Index for Middle and High Schools. The School Community Journal, 12(2), 117-132.