The Profession of Education: Responsibilities, Ethics and Pedagogic Experimentation 

Shannon Kincaid, Ph.D.

Philip Pecorino, Ph.D.

The art of teaching is to teach, to teach well and to teach even better.

Chapter: XII.  Conclusion

What impact if any might the moral arguments offered herein have on the profession of education?  Alan Goldman has offered an observation on this matter.   

To the extent that professional behavior, even ideal behavior, as viewed from within the professions themselves, is to be casually explained in nonmoral terms, we might expect that moral arguments will be ineffective in influencing it. 

Traditionally new members were indoctrinated into the practices articulated in the codes in subtle and nonexplicit ways.  Practice was inculcated simultaneously with factual knowledge, and the deeper moral questions were evaded in the professional schools. 

For a professional to alter his mode of practice and its central norms is for him to change his personality….The hope for flexibility and openness to rational moral persuasion is the hope that for the healthy and well-integrated personality, the Aristotelian ideal, the role of the good person, will at least limit all other roles a person may play. .--- Goldman, Alan. The Moral Foundations of Professional Ethics. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980. p. 292.

If educators with healthy and well integrated personalities are interested in being good persons and good educators then this work may offer some material with which they can go about thinking of what is the best course of action to take in various situations that they face as educators.  The concept of education as being a profession and as having thereby professional responsibilities enunciated for its members should provide a foundation for thinking about ethical issues once that concept is fully developed through discourse amongst the community of educators and then understood and accepted by educators.  

 Much of what is needed in order to educate, support and encourage professional educators to do the right thing as educators will come about through the exercise of collective responsibility on the part of professional educators in bringing about changes in the preparation of educators and their evaluation and professional development.  The exercise of collective responsibility is also key to the changing of institutional settings in which educators fulfill their responsibilities towards their students and their colleagues. When educators who teach in institutional settings accept their identities as professionals then the realization and fulfillment of collective responsibilities becomes possible. It is hoped that this work provides an effective argument that makes the case that educators should accept that identity as a professional with its incumbent set of responsibilities an in so doing obtain the basis for the recognition of the responsibility of the collective to act so as to enable individuals to fulfill their basic responsibilities.


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