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AoifeFinn16210183Creating an Ethical Classroom: How to promote responsible andethical use of technology within the classroomAim of ResearchThe aim of this research is tohighlight the importance of using ICT ethically within the learning environmentto best create an ethical classroom to suit all learning styles. It isimportant to make educators aware of issues associated with the use of onlinetechnology in education.

This research will focus on issues such as copyrightissues, cyber bulling, internet use and the use of social networks. Taking thisinto consideration this research aims to explore how ICT could support anethical and positive classroom climate.  Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.1 Introduction: What is EthicsResearchershave noted that the definition of ethics is obscure and elusive.

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The wordethics stems from the Greek word ‘ethos’. Ethos is a set of beliefs or ideas whichfocus on a set of moral behaviours, standards and relationships. In theliterature there are many concepts that define ethics. Much of the literaturedefines ethics as a guide in which individuals and organisations follow withinsociety. Mathur and Corley (2014, p.137) point out that ethics is notrestricted to the individual but also to organizations such as schools andbusinesses. According to BBC (2014) who state in their ethics guide, ethics canbe defined as a structure of moral principles which affects how people makedecisions in their daily lives. Similarly, educatetogether.

ie (2008, p.8) composethe same idea in their research as they believe that ethics can be defined as aperson’s ‘beliefs, ideas, and theories that facilitate the setting ofstandards’. Gülcan (2015,p. 2623) however concedes, as he deduces that ethics can be simplified as to whatis right or wrong and it is in schools that students learn the difference ofwhat is wrong and what is right.

Gülcan argues that morals and ethics aredifferent, and should be treated as two different subjects within education.While Gülcanagrees that both ethics and morals ‘have the same roots’, he defines morals as’manner’ and ethics as ‘character’. Nevertheless, Smith (2012, p. 8) insiststhat morals is based on the idea of right and wrong. Research suggests thatmorals and ethics are strongly intertwined. Inaddition to this, Sternberg (2016) claims that teaching ethics in a schoolcomes with issues.

With different cultures in the classroom, what is deemedright and wrong is interchangeable. As with different cultures, religions andbeliefs, what one individual deems right may not concur with what anotherindividual deems as right. In the same breath, Sternburg explains that there are certain ‘core values’ which arealmost the same in every culture. These are ‘honesty’, ‘compassion’ and’sincerity’ which schools do evoke in their ethos. Starrett (2005, p. 8)concedes with the above views, as he states that even in the most diverse areasa basic set of core ethic values can be found. Starrett (2005, p.

11) notes howAmerica, with it’s a vast diversity in classrooms has set a common core ethic whichaims to ‘bind’ students with diverse backgrounds together. Mathur and Corley (2014, p.137) notethat there are two views on how to be ethical. One focuses on words such as’rights, values, morals’ while the other focuses on ‘professionalism, code ofconduct and policies’.

They note that both viewpoints have one thing in common,they both believe that within education it is important to be ethical indecision making. However, Mathur and Corley also note in their research on’Bringing Ethics into the classroom’ that educators in America deal withethical decision making differently. Factors such as personal beliefs andmorals come into play when making ethical decisions. Bullough (2011) noted inhis research that educators handle ethical issues based on two views.

Someeducators deal with ethical decision making based on their own personal beliefsand life experiences while the other focus on social and ‘institutional norms.’Absolutism and relativism are two approaches which one can take. Absolutism aredogmatic in their approach and believe there are rules which should befollowed, however a relativist takes a more pragmatic approach as they believethere are many rules, and these can change over time depending on the situationwhich may arise, they believe each situation must be assessed before deciding.(Kirkwood, 2014). Based on the analysis of research found it can be deducedthat there is a strong need for educators to get support to effectivelyimplement an ethical classroom. Through support ethical grey areas such as theissues mentioned above can begin to dwindle out and have less of an impact oneducator’s decision making. As teachers coming into teaching are bringing intheir own values when making professional judgements. It is evident that professionaljudgements are merging with personal values.

2.2 Defining the EthicalClassroom and how to create ethical classroomAccordingto Pittella and Rostein (2017) an ethical classroom is like a ‘good home’. Anethical classroom is a place which fosters learning, sharing and trust.  An ethical classroom places responsibility oflearning on students.

A popular quote by Aristotle (as cited in Chapman-Clarke, 2016, p.266) is fitting as he states,”Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Thisquote speaks volumes when discussing ethical classrooms. As Moore (2013)discusses in her TED talk on ‘Cowboy Ethics in the Classroom’ there is a needfor teachers to focus on ‘inspiring students rather than instructing them.

‘ This statement conquers with Aristotle and Pittellaand Rostein, as through inspiring students rather than instructing them, youare creating a safe learning environment and in turn have effectively createdan ethical classroom. Weinsteinpoints out in his work that there are five principals of ethics which should betaught (as cited in, 2009). These are; ‘do no harm, make thingsbetter, respect others, be fair and be loving.’ To successfully promote anethical classroom, educate together(2008, p.3) have argued that more focus needs to be placed on monitoredlearning. This can be created by educators by developing a space fordiscussion, debates and reflections.

Learning to live together (2008) aprogramme which was launched in 2008, agree as they state the overall aim is todevelop a safe learning environment which in turn will foster critical thinkingand self-driven learning. Educate together also highlight that assessmentshould reflect the learning in the course and the teacher’s role should changefrom knowledge presenter to the guide on the side facilitating learning rather thanbeing the injector. In doing so the role of learning has now be placed onstudents, rather than the teacher being the holder of all knowledge. Pilergneoargues that ethics can be taught as it is ‘teachable as any other discipline’.It is important that teachers ensure that ethical instructions are ongoing asone lesson will not suffice.

Learning to live programme note that ethics ismore than teaching the curriculum it is about relationship building. (2008, p14). Narvaez (2007, p.2) found in her research on ‘The Guide the Checklist foran Ethical Classroom’, that when a positive student teacher relationshipdevelops the learning environment benefits as students feel safe and have a’sense of belonging’. Narvaez created a checklist as a guide for educators toensure they create an ethical learning environment. This guide promotesdesigning a classroom with ‘moral character development’ and makes the readeraware how ethical their classroom is.

This checklist is a good tool for educatorsto use to assess their weaknesses and strengths on how ethical their classroomis and identifies what they aspects they can improve. Areoccurring theme throughout the literature is the importance of the inclusionand involvement of parents in creating an ethical school and classroom. Starrett(2005, p.12) argues that one fundamental feature of creating an ethical schoolis to get the involvement of parents as he states that parental involvement isa core component of creating ethical classrooms. In doing so teachers can gaininsight into the student and parents to create a safe place, where ethics is atthe forefront.

Schlenk et al (2014, p.32) concurs with Starrett, as they toohighlight the importance of parent and teacher collaboration. They express thatparents and teachers should ‘exchange information regularly on behaviour andlife circumstances, social and economic background of the family’. For this tohappen Schlenk notes that schools need to create an inviting environment whichwelcomes all.

Schlenk suggest that schools with multi-lingual staff, studentsand parents should include signs around schools with various languages and notjust in English. This will insure inclusion of all and respect. It is importantthat schools then include dates to arrange meetings, where important themes arediscussed with parents. As Mathur and Corley (2014, p.136) suggest teachers whoare ethically aware can meet students’ needs and reduce disruption behaviours. TheTeaching Councils Professional Code of Conduct (2012) state that the teacher’srole is to care, be fair and acknowledge the needs of students. They also arguefor inclusion by respecting diversity of students, including their race, familystatus and gender. The Teaching Council have stated the importance of theteacher putting aside their personal beliefs to ensure that ethical decisionmaking is created free from personal judgements.

Teachers need to ensure theyhave moral reactions. This falls into the section of ‘professional integrity,private interests and professionalism’ in the work place, it is key that thelines do not get blurred to prevent any conflicts affecting studentsnegatively.        2.3What concepts have emergedAspreviously stated, by Weinstein, and noted by Mathur and Corley (2014, p.)there are five important ethical concepts within education. These includegoodness, truth, sense of self, justice and the responsibility to do no harm.

Whilethese aspects are important for ethical education, Schlenk et al (2014, p.)highlights the dialogical nature of ethics ‘prescribes openness towards theother’ and openness in growth and learning. Taylor et al (1995, p.3) note thatthere are certain conditions needed for open discourse which include trust,respect and commitment.

The Teaching Councils code of Conduct (2012, p.5)states that a teacher can embody openness through the ethical value of trust.The teacher can create openness through embodying honest, fair and openrelationships with school’s management, staff, parents and students.

Theethics of caring can improve not only relationships but academic performance bystudents. According to the Teaching Council’s Code of Professional Conduct(2012, p.5) the teacher’s role is to educate and there are four ‘ethical valueswhich underpin the standards of teaching, knowledge, skill, competence andconduct set out by this code. A caring teacher is driven by the best possibleinterests of the students.

A caring teacher has a positive influence andpractice and shows empathy.  For ateacher to show respect in an ethical manner they must be aware of emotionaland cognitive development. This resonates with Pilergneo and Educate Togetherstheory that educating is more than teaching the curriculum.

The teacher needsto be aware of the spiritual, religious, cultural and uniqueness of eachstudent. Schlenk(2012, p.28) argues that teachers play an essential role in students’ lives. Theystate that teachers are considered as role models.  Although the study finds that only sixteenpercent saw teachers as role models, they believe that it is very likely thatteachers seen as role models are much greater than the results have indicated.

 Lumpkin (2008, p.48) argues that integrity is themost important ethical value.  Lumpkindescribes integrity as constantly doing what is right even when doing wrong maybe easier.  Also noted by Lumpkin is asurvey on The Ethics of American Youth conducted by the Josephson Institute ofEthics (2006) where findings showed that sixty percent of students admitted tocheating on a test at school. Through integrity the teacher will model theimportance of the life long quest to do the right thing even if the wrong thingmay seem easier.

Thus, integrity can make students aware of the ethical issuesof cheating on school exams. As clearly stated by Schlenk et al (2012, p.30)teachers are continuously role models for students and teachers should takethis role with due care and responsibility. By implementing the core values ofethics, a teacher will demonstrate equal respect to all students, bothcognitively and emotionally.  Chapter3: Methodology 3.Desk Research ReadingsDESKRESEARCHDesk research was the first step in thisresearch. Desk research involved gathering information and data alreadyavailable through published and electronic material, with focus on academicjournals.Currentliterature on ethical use of ICT in classrooms focuses on the importance ofeducators in taking responsibility to create a safe online learningenvironment.

With the growing use of online learning a variety of new issueshave become evident in the ‘academics’ which may have not of been seen in thetraditional classroom setting. Tavani (2011, p.13) notes that with this rise ofonline forums and learning their will inevitability be a rise in ethicalconcerns. There is now more than ever a strong need for educators to becomemore adaptable and learn how to best deal with these issues (Palloff, Pratt,2007, p.

7). Crystal (2003) suggests one important method to use to prevent orstop issues arising is for schools to make students aware of how they usetechnology is as much an ‘ethical issue as hacking….’. Palloffand Pratt mention the ‘Pew Report’ which also notes how students have concernswith the ‘disconnect’ between how they use the internet in school, in lessonsand how teachers instruct them to use the internet during class time.

In thisreport it highlights important issues addressed by both students and parents onhow students gather their information for studies online rather than in aphysical book. Reading books has been replaced with researching online sourcesinstead to complete school assignments. When attempting to create an ethicalclassroom one important component to include is student voice. The Pew Reporthas argued in their research that a gap between educators and learners has leadway for educators to become more aware of changing their teaching methodologiesto allow for online forums and classes to become more prevalent. Recenttheorists have argued that the ‘Perry Schema of intellectual and ethicaldevelopment’ is the most efficient way to understand students’ knowledge,skills and learning and many more (Prichard and Sawyer, 1994 p.

46). Thisscheme has a huge focus on critical thinking.   


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