Professional Development for Ethical Teaching

  • Roseanna Bourke
  • John O'Neill


The routine dilemmas faced by teachers sometimes provoke heated reactions from colleagues, government and sections of wider civil society as to their practical resolution. Everyday tensions of teaching can produce polarised views about the ethics of decisions and actions that are taken in workplace contexts. How do teachers reach solutions and determine their own “right” or “best” answers to these dilemmas? Using the case of a professional development programme to raise awareness of the New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers, this article illustrates how working through a range of carefully constructed, authentic, polarising real-life scenarios allows teachers to safely learn to challenge their assumptions, values and beliefs rationally. The learning process also helps teachers to articulate their tacit theories of “good” teaching practice (including curriculum and assessment), and permits them to justify their decisions and actions based on sound reasoning according to shared ethical principles and commitments.


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Author Biographies

Roseanna Bourke
John O'Neill
How to Cite
BOURKE, Roseanna; O'NEILL, John. Professional Development for Ethical Teaching. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 18, july 2008. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 28 oct. 2020. doi:


Teachers and Teaching