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Teachers' Ethical Choices in Sociomoral Settings

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This article discusses ethical dilemmas in early childhood education as identified by kindergarten and elementary school teachers (N = 26). Ethical dilemmas are investigated in the theoretical framework of moral relevance and moral conflict (Wallace 1988). Professional ethics challenges teachers to collaborate with colleagues and parents. The empirical findings present conflicts between teachers and parents, collegial conflicts between teachers, and cultural conflicts in the community. The method used in the study is a relational reading of teachers' narratives. Interpretative accounts are created to give room to different voices in teachers' written reports. The analysis of the data reveals that the ethical dilemmas in early childhood education are relational and deal with competing interpretations of "the best interest of the child". Relevance and conflict problems arise when people have to co-ordinate their actions with others. Most of the time, discussions have not produced the desired results. Ethical conflicts in teaching invite teachers to consider the moral relevance of each dilemma by taking the perspective of each party involved.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2001

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