SHANGHAI, Dec. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Early childhood education is a critical stage in a child’s intellectual and overall development. Similarly, early childhood education is an ethical task pivoted on the values, motivation, and responsibility of teachers. Therefore, it is important that the professional standards for early education also include ethical codes. These act as an often unsaid contract between society and teachers. They guide the professional conduct of teachers and prevent misconduct, while strengthening the teachers’ professional identity.
With the aim of advancing the discussions and research surrounding ethical codes for teachers, this special issue of the ECNU Review of Education expounds on the key characteristics of such codes, their underlying values, and the challenges of putting these codes into practice. “This special issue focusses on ethical codes and values used by early childhood teachers across different countries in the hope that it contributes to the widespread awareness and application of such codes,” said Prof. Ruth Ingrid Skoglund, the leading Guest Editor of this issue.
Several countries have designed and adopted their own ethical codes for teachers. Most of these ethical codes are built on the values of trust, honesty, justice, fairness, human rights, protection, and respect of and care for children. This is reflected in the comparative study of the ethical guidelines in 13 countries conducted by Drs. Arve Gunnestad, Sissel Mørreaunet, Sobh Chahboun, and Jolene Pearson. They found that most teaching codes are founded on children’s rights and personal freedom. Likewise, in their study of the Finnish early childhood education curriculum documents, Drs. Anitta Melasalmi, Tarja-Riitta Hurme, and Inkeri Ruokonen found that ethical codes also align with democracy and autonomy. Early childhood teachers have the duty to inculcate democratic agency in their students, while protecting and caring for them. At the same time, they also have the freedom in deciding their pedagogy for doing so.
Subsequently, Dr. Jan Jaap Rothuizen’s article explores the relationship between ethics and pedagogy in early childhood education in Denmark. Dr. Rothuizen found that if early childhood learning is rooted in teachers’ understanding and practice of value-based human science pedagogy, then separate ethical codes become unnecessary.
In addition to support, another important aspect of these ethical codes is love and care. According to Dr. Gunnar Magnus Eidsvåg, collective support and care between teachers is the basic premise for their ability to care for students. At the same time, caring for students also requires collective judgement and action from teachers.
Adding another perspective to the ethics of love, researchers Jie Zhang, Mollie R. Clark, and Yeh Hsueh explore how free play for children is important in the evolution of care ethics. Instead of trying to mold children a certain way, teachers should nurture their individual uniqueness and guide them according to their personalities for their wellbeing and development.
This soon-to-be published special issue of the ECNU Review of Education brings new intercultural insights for the enhancement of early childhood education and to push the conversation forward for the worldwide adoption of professional ethical standards in teaching.
For more information on this special issue, watch this video.
Title of original paper: Ethical Codes for Early Childhood Teachers: How and Why Should We Use Them
Journal: ECNU Review of Education
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SOURCE ECNU Review of Education