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ID of Student: G00319124

Article/Reading: The Teaching Council – Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers


(Updated 2nd Edition 2016)

1. CONCISE SUMMARY OF READING

The Teaching Council is the body that maintains a register of teachers and regulates the
entry in to the teaching profession. To register you must pay a fee of 90 euro to get a
‘Teaching Council Number’, a regulatory number that gives you permission to work on
behalf of the state in schools.

The Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers was devised in 2006 by the Teaching
Council to promote a standard amongst the teaching profession.

This tutorial paper aims to:

 Outline the code; the need for the code, the purpose it serves, the structure of the
code, its context.
 The standards of teaching, knowledge, skill, competence and conduct.
 The type of matters that can be investigated by the Committee under this code
through the Teaching Council (Amendment) Act, 2015.
 And how one may go about making a complaint to the Investigating Committee.
 Compare this legislation to comparable legislation of other countries.

The article delves into useful information for both teacher and the wider public indicating
that the code should be used as a ‘guiding compass’ for those in the profession, how it
can be used by the wider community to understand the exact role of a professional
teacher and its legal standing which can be used by the Council as a reference point.

The article expresses an ethical foundation for the teaching profession, encapsulating the
four core values; Respect, Care, Integrity and Trust which it investigates extensively
explaining each value. It then goes on to devise standards amongst these core values that
apply to all registered teachers regardless of their position.

These standards are:

 Professional Values and Relationships (i.e. establish trustworthy relationships built on


respect)
 Professional Integrity (i.e. be honest in all aspects of work and respect privacy of
others)
 Professional Conduct (i.e. uphold the reputation and standing of the profession
and work with correct legislative framework)
 Professional Practice (i.e. maintain high standards of practice regarding pupil
learning, planning, assessment etc.)
 Professional Development (i.e. continue to develop within the profession whether it
be through CPD acknowledged courses or reflecting on your own practice)
 Professional Collegiality and Collaboration (i.e. work with colleagues and student
teachers in the interest of developing the people around you in your profession)

Under the ‘Complaints relating to registered teacher’ section, it explains in detail the
matters in which a teacher can be investigated under the Teaching Council
(Amendment) Act, 2015 listing all 8 serious offences under the act.

The article issued a stern warning to teachers who were under performing in their
profession and gave much-needed information for a by stander to interfere and report
any incidents of unprofessionalism they experienced. This article created a standard to
which all teachers today keep to, giving the teaching profession its distinguished record of
service.

2. CRITICAL REFLECTION

The reputation of teaching faculty throughout history has been regarded as very high.

This may have become accustomed through the clergy who for quite some time were
regarded as the pillar of society. After the concession of Irish Independence from Britain,
‘the Church of Ireland found it incumbent upon itself to engage with the educational
system of the new Irish state and specifically with its emphasis on the Irish language’
(Raftery & Fischer, 2014), so the clergy were the first evident educators at the time.

The Teaching Council set up this code of professional conduct to retain this standard set
by the religious order but also to set a clear, understanding article for teachers to relate to
and familiarise themselves with.

I found the reference to the clergy, ‘The teaching profession has a distinguished record of
service in Ireland’ (The Teaching Council, 2016), to be very bold however, as it is certainly
up for debate in recent years. On the back of the sexual assault scandals, with religious
members in the firing line, you must wonder does the profession still have its ‘distinguished’
record intact? Has it not been tarnished and dirtied by this.

Yet there are always two sides of an argument, if the clergy did not act to educate when
Ireland became independent as stated by Raftery & Fischer (2014), would we have the
successful educational system we have today? Who would have given the people an
education? I am still undecided on this.

However, from my investigation of this article as a future professional teacher, I believe it


has a lot of useful and realistic information and it dismisses any confusion of what is
expected of a professional teacher.

The breakdown and layout of the overall article I feel is lacking when compared to the
comparable legislation of England and Canada as both articles are concise and to the
point. However, it is ahead of the similar legislation article in New Zealand which I believe
investigates too many avenues. I feel that the overall layout of the article is very academic
when compared to that of the UK or New Canada.

The article begins to delve into irrelevant information for example in the introduction, ‘the
teaching profession has a distinguished record of service in Ireland’ (The Teaching Council,
2016), I feel as an informative article of the Code of Professional Conduct, this is irrelevant
and misleading. An informative article in my opinion should be short and concise and in
bullet point format.

As we read on the material begins to become more and more relevant. The introduction
certainly breaks down the purpose of the code in the introduction well, ‘It’s purpose is
threefold:… guiding compass as teachers seek… education community the wider public
to inform understanding… legal standing…’ (The Teaching Council, 2016) and for this
section it is written in perfect context.

The structure of the code is very interesting as it focuses on setting out an ethical
foundation for the profession incorporating the four core values. Later in the article it gives
a descriptive diagram of the values, their meanings and the role the teacher must
implement and show these values in the classroom. An interesting extract I came across
while further investigating this topic goes as follows,

‘Values are closely linked to beliefs. Beliefs are at the deepest level of our thoughts.
You will have beliefs about teaching as a profession. Values are formed based on
the nature of beliefs. Your practice or actions are expressions of your values’ (Hoult,
2005).

For some reason I cannot agree with this statement. I believe a professional is someone
who knows their beliefs but puts them aside in respective situations. I do not believe values
are closely linked to beliefs, for I recall hearing a story where a Christian woman was
injured, and a Muslim man took off his turban and used it to help stop the woman from
bleeding out. He put his beliefs aside and used values to decide what was the right thing
to do.

Nobody is going to have perfect values, nor is anyone going to be the same, everybody is
different and that is what we are to cater for as teachers. In any profession, we must put
our beliefs aside and demonstrate the core values in all meanings.

To develop on just one of the values, Respect:


I’m a firm believer that respect must be given from both sides of any situation for a
relationship to be fluid. This includes a teacher-student relationship. Teachers are viewed
as legitimate examples of how any person should behave or act in most cases. It is up to us
to demonstrate respect in all aspects, spiritually, democratically, environmentally etc.

One aspect here that draws my attention is ‘spiritually’. It is up to us a teacher’s,


irrespective of what religious beliefs to put aside any opinions of any other religion or non-
religious orders in our classroom and treat everyone the same on a level playing field. This is
where being a professional for me comes into play.

Interestingly in Finland, the country with the best educational system in the world have
different values – Human Worth, Truthfulness, Fairness and Rights & Responsibilities. Also, all
their pupils, regardless of ability, are taught in the same classes and as a result, the gap
between the weakest and the strongest pupils is the smallest in the world (Williams-Grut,
2016). This leads me to believe that Finland’s education system is the fairest and most
respectful system in the world, undoubtedly making it professional.

The ‘Code of Professional Conduct’ article highlights the factors out of teachers control,
‘factors beyond teachers’ control which have a bearing on their work including: the
engagement of parents and the wider community, the commitment and engagement of
pupils/ students, the availability of resources and supports…’ (The Teaching Council, 2016),
which is reassuring for a teacher who has felt for some reason they may have let down
their professional standard because of one of these factors.
A topic I feel that was ignored by this article and the same legislation of the other three
countries was the need for regular reflection and self-evaluation of someone’s own
professionalism. This could have been talked about in more dept in this article as I feel we
should always be our own biggest critic. A way of doing this could be offering a form of
survey to evaluate your own performance and professionalism. In order to develop you
need to ask yourself “what aspects of your teaching need to improve in order to improve
your future practice” (Kyriacou, 2007), which is why I think a simple survey could provoke
these thoughts.

As I come away from this article, I base its success and relevance on what I take away
from it. I take a lot of important information that has certainly stuck with me as a future
educator, the most significant being that the core values define our professionalism in
teaching. Having read the article, I can understand why this is and envision myself as a
teacher promoting these values throughout my classroom, as I myself am a model for my
students.

Overall, I feel the article fulfils its intention but could be enhanced in the future through the
points I have raised.

‘I believe in professionalism, less in politicians.’ – Moshe Kahlon.

3. LIST OF REFERENCES

References
Hoult, S. (2005). Secondary Professional Studies. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.

Kyriacou, C. (2007). Essential Teaching Skills. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd.

Raftery, D., & Fischer, K. (2014). Educating Ireland. Kildare: Irish Academic Press.

The Teaching Council. (2016). Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers. The Teaching Council,
2nd Edition, 3-4.

Williams-Grut, O. (2016, November 18). The 11 Best School Systems in The World. Retrieved from
Irish Independent : https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/11-best-school-
systems-in-the-world-a7425391.html