Education for Ethically Sensitive Teaching in Critical Incidents at School

May. 20, 2009

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 107 - 121 (May 2009).

The purpose of the present study was to identify and explore critical incidents at school that require ethically sensitive teaching. This kind of knowledge is needed in teacher education to prepare future teachers for their profession.

The data included narrative interviews with 12 teachers from four urban schools in Finland. Critical incidents were defined as issues or situations in teachers' work that produce ethical reflection and moral emotions. The critical incidents experienced by urban schoolteachers were analyzed and compared with earlier studies on ethical dilemmas in teaching.

Concrete examples of these incidents were reported. These examples contain teachers' emotional expressions. Four main categories of critical incidents were identified. These were related to the principal, students and families, teachers, and the school community. Teachers reported commitment, caring, co-operation and respect as the most dominant emotional expressions in these situations. These emotional expressions reflected ethical sensitivity skills, especially in reading and expressing emotions.

Based on their study, the authors suggest recommendations for teacher educators on how education for ethically sensitive teaching can be promoted.

Updated: Jun. 01, 2009