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Teacher Education Professional Standards & Ethics

A teacher is more than a teacher. Because a teacher is entrusted not only with educating students but also with helping them grow and develop as human beings, the effective teacher must be not only skillful at promoting learning, but also a model of ethical behavior.

In social studies education there is a concept called the hidden curriculum, referring to the unintended learning that is fostered by a teacher's actions that are not part of his conscious teaching. Students learn from more than the teacher's prepared lessons; they also learn from observing a teacher's behavior. For example, if the teacher believes he is fostering democratic values in the classroom but unintentionally allows students no voice in decision-making, the hidden curriculum is actually teaching the values of an autocracy. If a teacher stresses the importance of ethical behavior to students then engages in unethical behavior, this is another example of the hidden curriculum, of unintended teaching.

Teachers are observed very intently—scrutinized—by students for many hours each day. And for all students, teachers may be revered and seem larger than life. A teacher is more than just a teacher, and as long as this is so, ethics education should be part of teacher education.

 

--Dr. Al Forsyth, as adapted by Teacher Education Faculty


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