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Theme 2

Demonstrate professional and ethical behaviors and meet high expectations and standards

n a world dominated by corporate scandal, political corruption, and individual dishonesty, it is incumbent upon educational professionals to model the highest professional and ethical standards in their professional and personal lives. Society has high expectations for its educators, and scrutinizes their behavior both in and out of the classroom setting. Analysis of professional expectations and codes of ethics becomes a vehicle for reflection and personal growth that goes beyond a basic understanding of appropriate appearance and language and moves to an awareness of issues of confidentiality, response to harassment, and tolerance. Knowledge and acceptance of personal responsibility for one’s actions; respect and empathy for others; a clear understanding of the legal mandates and moral obligations of the profession; and the ability to implement ones’ values in the “real world” are all important components of ethical behavior.

Hand in hand with professional and ethical standards, teachers and other school personnel must understand the importance of high expectations and of multiple strategies for assessment and evaluation of performance. College standards for academic honesty and academic excellence, state and national standards for excellence in teacher preparation, and national legislation and standards for school performance (e.g. IDEA, NCLB, Title IX, ADA, etc.), influence the establishment of a climate of academic and personal excellence. Developing curriculum to meet the needs of diverse learners requires a deep understanding of planning and assessment; future teachers and educational leaders need the ability to critically analyze current practices and work for improvement. Faculty and cooperating professionals model ethical behavior and facilitate reflective practice, and encourage advocacy for the benefit of children, their families, and the educational system. Understanding the role of teacher as educational leader; acceptance of the need to foster good communication skills (e.g. listening, writing, speaking); cooperation and collaboration with families, students, and colleagues; and experience with conflict resolution strategies are all fundamental to professionalism.

Likewise, by modeling academic excellence, critical analysis, and active scholarship, faculty and cooperating professionals support students as they develop the ability to clearly articulate standards, to construct their own knowledge, to assess progress toward meeting standards, and to reflect on personal and professional growth. Portfolio artifacts provide authentic assessment of academic knowledge, professional skills and dispositions, and provide the framework for continuous improvement that integrates theory with practice.

In order to demonstrate their understanding of this theme:

Candidates need to know

  • Background about cultural context of the school environment, children, and families
  • Appropriate content and pedagogical approaches
  • Appropriate laws and codes of ethics affecting professional educators

So that they will be able to

  • Interact professionally with all constituencies
  • Pace lessons appropriately for all learners
  • Guide and manage student behavior
  • Behave in an ethical manner
  • Communicate clearly in writing and speaking

The dispositions that will help candidates achieve these goals include

  • Commitment to excellence
  • Willingness to work hard
  • Willingness to accept and utilize feedback
  • Reflection

The impact on student learning will be

  • High expectations that lead to high achievement
  • Ethical behavior modeled in the school setting