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Teacher Buy in Vital for Code of Ethics Success

A Code of Ethics for teachers will only succeed if it is openly based on the values of the teaching profession and gains teacher buy in, says a senior Wellington College of Education academic.
Sue Cherrington, Director of Early Childhood Education at the College, was a keynote speaker at the New Zealand Teachers Council Education Summit at Victoria University today. The summit focussed on the development of a code of ethics for New Zealand teachers and was also addressed by Education Minister Trevor Mallard.
Ms Cherrington was a key player in the development of a code of ethics for early childhood teachers that was adopted by the profession at a convention in September 1995.
A working group, backed by a large advisory committee, spent considerable time consulting early childhood teachers and organisations as well as early childhood professionals both in New Zealand and overseas. The group also surveyed teachers and held hui with Mâori.
Ms Cherrington said research was vital to establish the common core values of teachers and the most frequent and severe ethical conflicts they faced.
"Such a process would support the development of a code that is inclusive of all registered teachers, regardless of the sector that they teach in, and would contribute to the wider goals of the Teachers Council to provide professional leadership in education and to enhance the professional status of teachers. It may also produce a unifying effect, helping teachers across the sector to recognise and appreciate the challenges and complexities of teaching in their own and other sectors."
Ms Cherrington said the early childhood code was based on the profession's own values.
"Whilst we shaped and wordsmithed these values, they are the values of the profession and not the results of a backroom process. I would urge the Teachers Council to commit to a similar model in order to take your members with you on this journey. I believe the resulting commitment to the code will far outweigh any disadvantages that may result from taking longer to achieve a finalised code of ethics."
Ms Cherrington said the early childhood working group left it to the profession to decide the status of the code.
"The status of the code was a decision the working group felt best left to the sector: our task had been to oversee the development, not to decide whether the was to be aspirational or enforceable. A similar decision needs to be made by the Teachers Council and its members as part of the development process."
For more information: contact Sue Cherrington on 04 924 2052
Issued for the Wellington College of Education by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information please contact or phone +64-4-463-5873 or 029 463 5873

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