In an increasingly digital and mobile world, the students at Ashburton Borough are walking a path that no other Ashburton Borough (ABS) student as taken before. The ability to carry a cellphone or device with you anywhere and still be able to get online is something that we never thought would be possible.
However… this brings with it some issues. One of which I see is glaringly obvious as a teacher. Parents are able to gift or allow their child to have a device that is capable of using their own data when not on WiFi.
Some students in my area bought their devices, in this case it was their cellphones, and were able to use their own data to look up inappropriate adult websites. This occurred at lunchtime, out of the watchful eyes of the teachers and resulted in the group of boys misbehaving.
The initial reaction by the duty teacher was to confiscate the device and punish the students for being disrespectful and dishonest. This effectively dealt with the immediate issue and the entire year group was given the consequences if it was to happen again.
However, the issue around ability for anyone to gain access to such websites is still a reality. As said in Class Notes: Week 30 – APC – Influence of Law and Ethics on Professional Practice (n.d.), “Ethics are not a single topic you can study in isolation but are a foundation upon which you live and practice.”. Ethics is defined as the rules, protocols, beliefs and values which you base your personal life and professional career on. In a technological school such as ABS, we need to have a clear policy which the students are a part of to allow the students to use their own and the schools devices as a learning tool and not to lead into adult-themed subjects.
In the Code of Ethics for Certificated Teachers | Education Council, (2015) it clearly states the code in which we abide by within our professional career as teachers. We are committed to our learners (one), to the parents and whānau (two), to society (three) and to the profession (four). Within this Code of Ethics, it is clear who we are responsible for and to whom we are required to report to. The most important code of ethic when it comes to the situation at ABS is the obligation we have with the parents of our students to keep them safe.
“In relation to parents/guardians, and the family/whānau of learners, teachers will strive to:
– involve them in decision-making about the care and education of their children
– establish open, honest and respectful relationships
– respect their privacy
– respect their rights to information about their children, unless that is judged to be not in the best interests of the children.” (Code of Ethics for Certificated Teachers | Education Council, 2015)
The important factor in this particular code of ethic is the judgement of what is not in the best interests of the children. The teachers are making this judgement on behalf of the parent or caregiver of the student and this needs to be a clear decision path for the teachers.
- Class Notes: Week 30 – APC – Influence of Law and Ethics on Professional Practice. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2016, from https://app.themindlab.com/course/release/209-week-30-apc-influence-of-law-and-ethics-on-professional-practice
- Code of Ethics for Certificated Teachers | Education Council. (2015). Retrieved March 5, 2016, from http://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/code-of-ethics-certificated-teachers-0