Friday, 15 March 2013

Task 5a - professional ethics from a personal perspective

In my RoL module last year I chose to include Professional Ethics as one of my areas of learning. I thought it might be interesting to revisit what I had written as part of this task, and then add anything that I felt would be included now I had done further reading into the area.

I have uploaded the full document to my google drive but here are the main areas I identified as important to me:
  • judgement, to include honesty/ integrity, competency, and professionalism,
  • appropriate use of language and comments, and
  • what I would/ would not ask a student to do.
Three of the words I list above are what I would consider perhaps the most important ethical considerations, not just in my profession but in all professions:

  1. Integrity - being open, objective, responsible, considerate and with an awarenes of personal bias
  2. Competency - not just in being up-to-date with knowledge and skills but in the ability to transfer or transmit that knowledge successfully and in a manner suitable to the situation.
  3. Professionalism  - being fair and objective, co-operative and available for discourse and discussion.
Other areas I would add when considering the specifics of my job are:
  • Physical well-being - ensuring no harm comes to students, parents or colleagues from either the environment or what I require of them.
  • Emotional well-being - ensuring that no student is made to feel valueless or less worthy than others.
  • Honesty - in dealing with any monies taken or services offered/ claims made by me.
  • Confidentiality - in the safe-keeping of any data and the exchange of sensitive information between myself and parents, students or colleagues.

Now, on paper all of the above looks great we all know, real-life doesn't fit into neat little ethical boxes and there are some very murky 'grey' areas.
Also, there are some people who are not as ethical in their practices as others and it is for this reason that codes of conduct or ethics are produced by most professional bodies to both guide and safeguard. There are also government laws and legislations.

The next part of the task (5b) is to find out what ethical guidelines are produced by our professions and to identify areas that we find different to the assumptions made above.
The links for these are below, along with some relevant government legislations, and I'll be back in my next blog to look at where these guidelines might differ from my expectations:

Code of conduct - Royal Academy of Dance

Code of Professional Conduct and Practice - Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance

Code of Conduct - Council for Dance Education and Training (brought to my attention by Clare Orlandi)

Child Protection Policy - Royal Academy of Dance

Child Protection Policy - Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance

Childcare Act 2006

Equality Act 2010

Human Rights Act 1998

Data Protection Act 1998


  1. Hi Sarah,

    I think the idea of being objective is one that many people find difficult in more ways than one. Some times we see favouritism in classes; certain students may get picked for parts when perhaps they aren't the most suited just because the teacher has the idea set in their mind that they are the best. In another way,it can be difficult to look objectively at your students,particularly when you need to leading up to their teacher you see them as your students; how much they've improved and come on. This can be misleading as we need to almost try and see them with a fresh set of eyes.

    You've just made me think...I didn't list all the different acts as part of my task 5b because they are listed within the CDET document itself but not the whole document in full..I shall have to add them!


    1. Clare, I think you're totally on the money about objectivity in viewing students!
      In thinking about ethics I was clearly concerning myself with things like - treating students equally, not picking on one individual because personalities clash, giving everyone the same opportunity to progress, etc. However your comment about how we see the work behind the exam preperation brought a whole rush of thoughts/ experiences into my head. I know that I am often left with feelings of...not disappointment so much as wishful-thinking perhaps that the examiner could see how hard a particular student has worked to achieve the standard she shows in an exam.
      Being able to objectively assess the examination criteria/ marking structure without being distracted or biased by our knowledge of the student is certainly something to think about.

    2. Definitely..I always remember one of my ballet teacher's from college sitting down for a few lessons leading up to our exams and not making any comments until the end..merely making notes. I now do this with my own students and although it can be very difficult not to go and correct, it is also very useful!

      Have you noticed that examiners that are also teachers tend to be nicer with the students? I think that they understand how difficult it can be and how hard the students work and so take that into consideration. Other examiners have the advantage of being able to look at the students from a totally objective view but does this mean we get mixed marking standards?