Educational research has tended to portray the teacher's role as a morally neutral pro fession, mainly responsible for imparting knowledge and intellectual skills that can be objectively assessed. This has often been done in the name of the “rhetoric of teachers' professionalization,” that is, the need to strengthen the status and prestige of teaching in society (Fenstermacher, 1990; Gordon, Perkin, Sockett, & Hoyle, 1985; Hoyle, 1980; Soder, 1990; Wise, 1986). Yet, as suggested by ancient thinkers such as Plato and Con fucius, by modern writers such as Rousseau and Dewey, and by a growing number of contemporary authors who are attempting to revive classical normative ideas, teaching is not a “set of mechanical performances judged by the quality of product” (Sockett, 1993, p. 13). It is, rather, a “serving mission” or “a calling” (Hansen, 2001) which is generically subservient to a variety of moral ends (Fenstermacher, 1990; Soder, 1990; Tom, 1984; Valli, 1990; Veugelers & Oser, 2003). According to this approach, the role of teaching to impart knowledge is inseparable from its moral role (Ball & Wilson, 1996; Goodlad, Soder, & Sirotnik, 1990; Olson, 1992). Specifically, teaching is con cerned not only with enhancing students' mastery of the subject matter in preparation for their future occupations, but also with their development as moral persons and citizens in a democratic society (Carr, 2006; Sockett, 1993, p. ix).

With these considerations in mind, the present chapter attempts to clarify the basic considerations in ethical thinking and to emphasize the great significance of ethics for the teacher's role. It will focus on three major questions: Why is teaching a moral endeavor? What types of moral ends or considerations apply to the practice of teaching? To what extent can the teaching of ethical values be translated to codes of behavior?


Ethical Decision Moral Dilemma Moral Dimension Moral Consideration Ethical Approach 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clara Sabbagh
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaMount CarmelIsrael

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