In your opinion are ethical codes of conduct reflective of societal norms or essential principles of humanity?
Based on my profession and the Code of Ethics provided by the New Zealand Teachers Council (2004) I believe they are reflective of societal norms as they relate to the exchange of commitment from between us, learners, society, community and families. However, they also align themselves with some of the basic principles of humanity such as, respecting the privacy of others and promoting the well being of our learners. These being governed by four principals, Autonomy, Justice, Responsible Care and Truth.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a Code of Ethics?
They provide us with clear expectations as professionals and help us align our practice with these principals. Its also protects us from accidentally imposing on any unethical boundaries, especially those who are new to the profession. If an Ethical issue were to arise between staff and/or families, we would have a document that provides us with accountability for our actions. However, this can lead to society viewing us as lawful citizens who do no wrong and holding very high expectations of us as a profession. This can lead to pressures outside of work hours, where we must continue to uphold these Ethics and make them a part of our everyday lives. This makes us accountable for a lot of things that may be viewed as a societal norm for most people. Whereas an advantage to this would be the regulation of appropriate behaviors in the Education sector, particularly when we have the safety of our learners at the forefront.
In your own field to what degree are ethics concerned to protect individual rights and to what degree do they exist to minimise organisational risk? How is the balance between the two distributed?
I believe these are both addressed equally throughout the Code of Ethics, where it states that we have a commitment to our learners, society, profession, community and families. (New Zealand Teacher Council, 2004). These commitments highlights the degree in which individual rights are upheld and applied in an educational setting.
These Ethical principals also minimise organisational risk as decisions can be based around these Ethics ensuring all parties are covered and held accountable where necessary. It also provides a foundations for leaders and management to judge teaching applicants upon and making Ethical judgements.
New Zealand Teachers Council. (2004). Code of Ethics. Retrieved on 7 July 2015 from