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Name of Student: Luke Bowden G00286640

Article/Reading Code Of Professional Conduct For Teachers, Teaching


Council of Ireland, June 2012

1. CONCISE SUMMARY OF READING

The Code Of professional Conduct for teachings published by the teaching council of
Ireland in 2012(2nd edition) is a guide and a supportive document for teachers to
reference in order to understand what is expected of them in a classroom outside of
their subject knowledge itself. It is small 9 page document broken down into
headings of; Purpose of the code; Structure of the code; Context; Standards of
teaching, knowledge, skill, competency and conduct; Professional Values and
relationships; Professional Integrity; Professional Conduct; Professional Practice;
Professional Development and Professional Collegiality and collaboration.
The code also has a legal standing and will be used as a reference point during
disciplinary procedures investigating professional misconduct under part 5 of the
Teaching Council Act 2001.
Although the codes main function is to serve as a compass for teachers themselves it
also informs parents and the wider community on what to expect from the teaching
profession in Ireland.

The code has a very distinct structure based around the ethics and values that
teachers should uphold. The values of Respect, Care, Integrity and Trust are reflected
throughout the code. In accordance with the councils policy on the Continuum of
Teacher Education teachers are defined as reflective practitioners whose key role is
the educate but who must also be active members of professional learning
communities (Teaching Council of Ireland, 2011). There is an underlined
encouragement for schools and teachers to aid the development of student teachers

and a clear statement of intent for increased continuous professional development.


The 2nd edition of the code of conduct expresses a clear message from the teaching
council that regard must be taken for the context in which education occurs, such as
the home environment, the wider community and economic situations. Whilst
highlighting the rights and responsibilities that both teachers and students have in
the school environment the code also highlights the responsibilities of the parents
and the numerous factors that effect education which are outside of the control of
the teacher. The teaching council also recognises the civic and social value of
education and the contribution education makes to the social, cultural and
economical development of Ireland.

The code explicitly states that the following values underpin the standards of
teaching, knowledge, skill and competence Respect; Care; Integrity and Trust.
To display the value of respect teachers should uphold human dignity; promote
equality and emotional and cognitive development. Teachers should demonstrate
respect for spiritual and cultural values, diversity, social justice, freedom, democracy
and the environment. To demonstrate the value of Care practice must be
motivated by the best interests of the pupils. Teachers use positive influence,
professional judgment and empathy to show such care. Integrity is displayed simply
through honesty, reliability and moral action. Education is based on relationships
and teachers can develop a trust between themselves, students, parent, colleagues
and school management by being open, honesty and fair. It is essential that teachers
uphold these values in order to adhere to the Code of Conduct guidelines.

The code also sets out a number of standards to help identify the requirements for a
professional teacher. The code states that teachers should be caring, fair and
committed whilst seeking to motivate, inspire and celebrate effort and success.
Teachers should acknowledge and respect uniqueness, promote equality and respect
individuality and specific needs of students while promoting a holistic development.
Under the heading of professional integrity the code states that teachers should act
with honesty and integrity in all aspects of their work and avoid conflicts between

their professional work and their private lives. In regards to standards of professional
conduct teachers should uphold the reputation and standing of the profession; take
all reasonable steps in relation to the care of their students in order to ensure their
safety and welfare; comply with national and school policys/procedures, report
appropriate incidents; communicate effectively with students, parents and
management; ensure students do not knowingly access or have in their possession
illicit or inappropriate materials in electronic or other format.
Finally under the heading of professional practice the code states that teachers
should maintain a high standard of practice in relation to student learning, planning,
monitoring, assessing, reporting and providing feedback. Teachers should create an
environment where pupils can become active agents in the learning process and
develop lifelong learning skills and develop strategies to support differentiated
learning.

In conclusion The Code of Conduct for Professional Teachers is a definite statement
of standards required by teachers, a guide to support teachers during their
professional development an ethical and moral foundation for teachers and a legal
document for disciplinary procedures.


2. CRITICAL REFLECTION

The Code of Conduct for Professional teachers is the main guide for teachers on their
conduct in the classroom. An extremely relevant policy document for us for Teaching
Practice and for our professional careers, I find most importantly that that document
is an easy policy to read. It is well structured and short, its simplicity is essential in
encouraging student teachers and NQTs to read it for the first time. The main focal
points of the Code are highlighted and a clear emphasis is put on the values that a
teacher must uphold in the classroom. In comparison with a similar policy from a
different country such as Australia (2008) where the teachers code of professional
practice is a thirty page document, our code of conduct, nine pages. This is a

fantastic example of how to not overload teachers with an overly detailed dos and
donts guide to teaching.

A combined strength and weakness of the document is its subjectivity. It has a legal
standing in accord with the (Teaching Council of Ireland, 2001) and as such will be
used by a board from the department or a school board during disciplinary
procedures. This subjectivity allows for the changing environment in which
education occurs and the external factors, which can effect education. However it
also leaves the policy very open to interpretation, this was highlighted by Bernie
Judge from the Teachers Union of Ireland in a feedback form she wrote on the
document (TUI, 2012). Ms Judge provided feedback on the 1st edition of the policy
and highlighted the openness and subjectivity as a concern from teachers in the
union. Even with this feedback the 2nd edition of the Code still possesses a high level
of subjectivity. Ms judge highlighted that the values have an ambiguity to them, for
example, teachers are expected to uphold human dignity and many teachers
feedback asked the question how exactly is this measured? She underpinned her
response by stating that the code puts unrealistic and unfair demands on teachers.
Ms Judge also questioned the nature of the Code in the feedback form. In the
introduction it declares itself to be a guide and supportive document for teachers
however its legal standing is not typical of a guiding supportive document.

Article 37.1 of the employment equality act states that an educational institute
under the control of a body established for religious purposes shall not be taken to
discriminate against a person if it takes action necessary to prevent an employee
undermining the religious ethos of the institution (Employment Equality Act, 1998).
The Code of professional conduct for teachers states that the teacher should show
respect for the spiritual and cultural values of the students (Teaching Council of
Ireland, 2012). I find that both these policy statements are in direct conflict with
each other. For example a teacher in a school ran by a catholic organisation who
upholds the value of respect for a student in his/her classroom whos beliefs are of
the Muslim religion might be seen to be undermining the catholic ethos of the

institute, however if he/she was to promote the ethos of the school they could be
seen as disrespecting the religious beliefs of the student and therefore failing to
uphold the values of the code. Failing to adhere to either policy leaves the teacher
open to disciplinary proceedings if they are both upheld to the letter. This conflict
also brings to question why the beliefs of the student are more important than the
beliefs of the teacher who may not support the beliefs of the religion supported by
the school and yet is forced to promote it because Article 37 could result in them
being discriminated against.

Point 2.5 of the code of conduct for professional teachers states that teachers
Should avoid conflict between their professional work and private interests which
could be reasonably deemed to impact negatively on students. This could bring to
focus a teachers sexuality, for example a homosexual male teacher in a catholic
school could be seen to have a negative impact on students if their sexuality is easily
identifiable. This would cause the teacher to either have to suppress some traits and
characteristics that make them who they are as an individual or be in breech of the
code of conduct. The Code of conduct states in point 1.1 that teachers should inspire
and motivate and in point 1.2 that teachers should acknowledge and respect
individuality and uniqueness however as a teacher we are expected conform to
professional norms in regards to dress and in some schools the expectations to
conform extends to teaching styles. Its my belief that if we are to fully inspire and
promote individuality especially in the context of such creative subjects of MTW,
DCG and Construction studies we must be given a high level of freedom to express
our own individuality in dress and teaching styles.

In conclusion the Code of Conduct fulfils a great need for professional teachers,
providing them with guidance that never existed before this policy. The openness
and subjectivity allows for the policy to be adapted to a variety of schools and
economic situations throughout the country however it also has some pitfalls. That
same openness brings with it a level of ambiguity and questions about a variety of
aspects of what might be expected from a teacher. In large part though the

document is essential and I expect it to keep changing along with the educational
climate itself.

3. LIST OF REFERENCES

Bibliography
Department of Education and Training Australia. (2008). Teachers code of
professional practice. Canberra, Australia: Deparment of Education and Training
Australia.
Employment Equality Act. (1998, N/a N/a). Retrieved 9 23, 2015, from
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1998/act/21/enacted/en/pdf:
Teaching Council of Ireland. (2012). Code of Conduct for Professional Teachers.
Dublin: Teaching Council of Ireland.
Teaching Council of Ireland. (2011). Policy on the continuum of teacher education.
Dublin: Teaching Council of Ireland.
Teaching Council of Ireland. (2001). Teaching Council Act. Dublin: Teaching
Council of Ireland.
TUI, B. J. (2012, January 17). CODE OF PROFSSIONAL CONDUCT FOR
TEACHERS Revised Draft for Consultation . Feedback form . Dublin.