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Leading ethically- learning practically
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6639-8803
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Leading ethically- learning practically

In an empirical study about professional ethics as lived practice, student teachers and teacher educators both at campus and in field mention the teachers function as role model.

The aim of the empirical study is to examine and provide a better understanding of how student teachers implicitly (in action) and explicitly (through statements orally and written) express and learn their ethical responsibilities and what their statements tell us about professional ethics. One of the questions is:

•How does learning in professional ethics develop during the first semesters of teacher education?

Ethics deals with what is “good” and “right” and is linked to various ethical dilemmas. Views on ethics as being normative and descriptive cannot be fully separated. However, in this study, the ethics referred to are chiefly descriptive since the student teachers talk about their own experiences.  Challenges in teaching assignments consist of different ethical dilemmas. A dilemma does not have a right answer (Husu & Tirri, 2003) but how to handle it depends on considerations and the teacher’s own judgment in relation to the actual situation.

Previous research on teacher education and student teachers´ learning, relevant to this study, concerns the importance of dispositions and earlier experiences in teacher education (Johnson, 2008; Dottin, 2009; Sockett, 2009 & Schussler & Knarr, 2013), lifelong learning (Ranagården, 2009 & Strömberg, 2010) and connecting theory with practice (Gustavsson, 2008 & Eriksson, 2009). Many studies emphasize the importance of dealing with student teachers´ dispositions during teacher education. There seems to be a lack of awareness about how personal values and previous understandings affect education and the shaping of professional roles. Researchers demand a teacher education that systematically tends to student teachers´ self-consciousness and self-reflection about what values they express and that supports their use and development of different tools and strategies.

This study is based on lifeworld theory.  Hence, intentionality and the natural attitude as parts of phenomenology and lifeworld theory are highly relevant.  When student teachers make new experiences during their teacher education, new understanding is built on the student teacher´s lifeworld, the way that the student teacher relates to and interacts with the world. Intentionality is when one directs ones awareness onto objects or events (Husserl, 1995/1907), meaning that when we experience something we experience it as something with a meaning. A person´s lifeworld is the sum of all meanings; it is impossible to escape but can be reflected upon (Husserl, 1995/1907). The natural attitude, to take things for granted in order to cope with daily situations (Husserl, 1970b/1936), explains why ethics in teaching situations often remain unspoken. When something is natural and unquestioned, the experiences are implicit. When a student-teacher meets children, the meeting is between different lifeworlds and the situation depends on what experiences both the children and the student-teacher bring with them. Through reflection and self-awareness, objects and events experienced as natural attitude can become conscious and open to study (Dahlberg, Dahlberg & Nyström, 2008).

This study draws on the ethical responsibility thatbothLévinas (1993) andLøgstrup (1994) describe asinevitableandcrucial for a person in order tounderstand him- or herself. When meetinga child, there is an ethicalobligation and responsibility involved (Todd, 2001). Student teachers deal withthis responsibilityin different ways: by being passive or by acting on different options. Whether thestudent teacher is aware of thechoicesand howchoices are made is based onthe individual'slifeworldand the impacton the lifeworld that the teacher education may have.Alleducational activityisthusa process oflifeworlds constantly being shaped and reshaped.

The methodology, RLR (Reflective Lifeworld Research), that this study is based on, emphasizes how the individual give meanings to phenomena and it is these meanings that the researcher is studying.

Since earlier research has indicated that professional ethics are embedded in practice, this study examines how student teachers experience professional ethics during their school-based training.  Ten student teachers, with different orientations to preschool and Elementary school have been interviewed. In addition to interviews, empirical data consists of observations during student teachers´ meeting with children, dialogues with supervisors, seminars at campus, meetings with mentors and different kinds of written material during this period, for example didactic plans and diaries. The data collection was conducted during the student teachers´ second, third and fourth semester.

All the interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The respondents prepared the interviews in advance to talk about situations where the experience of the phenomenon appeared. An open approach during the interview includes bridling pre-understandings. Further, the bridling in this study is done by discussing the findings with colleagues and supervisor, by doing the analysis over a long period of time, and by analyzing in different stages. These stages entailed that I started looking for different meaning units in the data and marked them by comments in the margins of transcriptions. Out of my comments, I searched for meanings that seemed to belong to each other and structured patterns (clusters). In this process different parts of the data are constantly compared to the whole and the whole to the parts, iteratively, to see if the patterns remained convincing (Dahlberg et al., 2008). The different stages of analyzing makes it possible to go back in process and to check what was said and if it can be interpreted differently.

As a part of the result, the function of the teacher as a role model was emphasized. When educators at campus and in field use this expression of leadership, they never explain what they mean. The meaning is implicit. However, student teachers also use this expression but explain what it means to them to be a role model. When student teachers experience their supervisor as a role model, descriptions of different ways of making good relations to the children are characteristic. Supervisors are asking questions about how children are feeling both in pre/school and at home. They address the children in the same way as they address colleagues. Another characteristic way to be a role model is to be present in the interaction with children. Supervisors manage to cope with the situation as it appears and are willing to disregard their planning when it is needed. They also manage to balance between being strict and to joke with the children, depending on the situation.

Osguthorpe (2008) explains that the pedagogue needs to teach ethically as being a role model which is different from teaching ethics. How to educate student teachers to be role models for children is a complex undertaking that raises several questions (Sanderse, 2013). Student teachers sometimes know that they are role models but do not always realize what it means and how they make certain values visible in their actions (Schussler and Knarr, 2013). Their intentions, perceptions and practice are connected in teacher education and it is a highly relevant topic to all teacher educators both in Europe and in the rest of the world to discuss how teacher education can handle student teachers development to teach ethically, as role models.

References

 

Dahlberg, K., Dahlberg, H. & Nyström, M. (2008). Reflective life world research. 2. ed. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

 

Dottin, E. S. (2009). Professional judgment and dispositions in teacher education, Teaching and teacher education 25(1), 83-88.

Eriksson, A. (2009). Om teori och praktik i lärarutbildning: en etnografisk och diskursanalytisk

studie. Diss. Göteborg : Göteborgs universitet, 2009.

Tillgänglig på Internet: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19352

Gustavsson, S. (2008). Motstånd och mening: innebörd i blivande lärares seminariesamtal. Diss. Göteborg : Göteborgs universitet, 2008.

Tillgänglig på Internet: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/17754

 

Husserl, E. (1970/1936). The crisis of European sciences and transcendental phenomenology: an introduction to phenomenological philosophy. Evanston: Northwestern U.P.

 

Husserl, E. (1995/1907). Fenomenologins idé. 2. uppl. Göteborg: Daidalos.

 

Husu, J. & Tirri, K. (2003). A case study approach to study one teacher´s moral reflection, Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(3), 345-357.

Johnson, L. E. (2008). Teacher candidate disposition: moral judgement, or regurgitation? Journal of moral education 37(4), 429-444.

 

Lévinas, E. (1993). Etik och oändlighet: samtal med Philippe Nemo. 3., utök. uppl. Stockholm: B. Östlings bokförl. Symposion.

Løgstrup, K. E. (1994). Det etiska kravet. Göteborg: Daidalos.

Osguthorpe, R. D. (2008). On the Reasons We Want Teachers of Good Disposition and Moral Character. Journal of Teacher Education, 59(4), 288-299.

Ranagården, L. (2009). Lärares lärande om elever: en sociologisk studie av yrkespraktik. Göteborg: Department of Sociology, Göteborg University.

 

Sanderse, W. (2013). The meaning of role modeling in moral and character education.  Journal of moral education, 42(1), 28-42.

 

Schussler, D., & Knarr, L. (2013). Building awareness of dispositions: enhancing moral sensibilities in teaching, Journal of Moral Education 42(1), 71-87.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-11468OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-11468DiVA: diva2:1056821
Conference
ECER 2016 Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers, Dublin, August 23-26, 2016
Available from: 2016-12-15 Created: 2016-12-15 Last updated: 2016-12-21Bibliographically approved

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