From rules to responsablity….
By dr. prof. Italo Bassotto – AIMC Italia
It’s a general point of view among the researchers in sociological matters, that teaching is no more a job like other work activities, but a “profession” and that the teachers belong to the “reflective practitioner category” of workers. It means that teachers are involved in a particular kind of relationship’s system, whose most important characteristics to be absolutely free (and for this reason, responsible) of their own attitudes in respect of students, parents and society.
Man could argue that responsibility is a characteristic of every job in this time, when the Taylor stand Fordism principles of scientific division of work have been abandoned and the production systems are more and more entrusted to the individual (or of small groups) competence. But the specific characteristic of the teaching work is that consists in establishing and manage human relationships, and particularly thatching of human relations called “take care”, not only in a physical sense (security, health, ), but also spiritually (psychological, moral and social well-being).
This kind of responsibility requires not only a lot of technical skills (in the entire spectrum of the human sciences) that must be constant updated, owing to the steady development of knowledge in this area of science research; but also (and especially, in my opinion) a deep and safe personal and professional identity. In Italy we have a university professor (Elio Damiano) who published in 2008 an in-depth study, using materials of American and English scientist and researchers. He called his book “The ethic teacher”, and identified the main characteristics of the moral heritage of the teachers in:
· justice and impartiality
· heartedness and moral integrity
· kindness and care of the others
· empathy and respect for human beings
Obviously these are four general features of the moral qualities in a “good teacher”, so that on the basis of them, it will be possible sketch profile of the teachers and particularly adapt them to the different situation and cultures in which the teachers conduct their own activities.
In Italy the National Association of Catholic Teachers (AIMC) promoted a research about a possible ETHICAL CODE for the Teachers and the Heads: the promoters of the study were convinced that it was necessary sketch the professional profile of the two most important responsible of the school education, with the objective of ensuring transparency and fairness in the social control of these delicate professional activities, and also of helping the actors to reflect on their professional activities in order to improve them.
Summing the results of the studies of Professor Campbell (2003) and Damiano (2008) and the documents and evidence collected by AIMC, is possible to profile the Ethic Teacher (ET) in these eight steps:
1. ET isn’t the perfect teacher, but he (she) is open and careful of ethical knowledge for him(her)self and his(her) workfellows;
2. There isn’t just one an general model of ET: every teacher must interpret the profile according to the different situations and contests: they refer to the same principles (justice, respect, kindness and care), but they need to be contextualized;
3. ET is impartial with all the students, and particularly with those who are wrong. He (she) is empathic and encourages, communicating attention and respect…
4. ET protects his (her) students from the trouble they can feel in front of their class mate sowing to physical handicaps or school failures. Respects the privacy, the students’ and families’ dignity; doesn’t tolerate any kind of pettiness and calls the students to respect and take care of their schoolfellows and of the school personnel
5. ET considers a sign of respect to the students: to correct carefully, to evaluate objective land to return steady lithe class works, with his(her) comments and judgements, because he (she) gives respect to the works and efforts of the student said they were his (her) own labours
6. ET examine and puts in charge, conscientiously and regularly, the needs of every student and the general well-being of the whole group of them. He (she) applies criteria of equality and fairness, excluding any form of privilege and ensuring that every pupil is followed with the same care of the other ones
7. ET feels the moral need to avoid any form of deceit and gallery not only in the interpersonal relationships, but also in the students’ evaluation and in teaching the school subjects. He (she) chooses with great care educational supplies looking forward to their moral value and educational capacity; he (she looks from imposing personal opinions to the students about political or ideological debates and never abuses them in conflicts involving (for example) the interests of the school workers
8. ET sees the schools a community, where all the people share the same values and takes the responsibility of testify them in face of the colleagues and the staff of the school. He (she) never ignores neither hides the worst practices of the colleague stewards the students; besides he (she) always discusses with the teachers of the school about the moral dilemma arising during the teaching activities and tries to study with them alternative solutions in order to improve the educational agreements and the collegial management of the school.
As you can see, there are no rules in this kind of profile of the ET, but an essential reference to the “ethic of responsibility” that must be continuously adapted to the various contexts and negotiated with all the stakeholders of the education system. For this reason I think that ill is very important (essential, daresay!) the role of the Professional Association, and I would be very happy if our Catholic Association (the UMEC-WUCT)
succeed in the attempt to prepare the draft of a Universal ETHICAL CODE, that could be left to every school community in al the nations of the world in order to be improved and adapted to the tradition and needs of every country….
Thank you for your understanding and good luck to you all for the success of the meeting.
 Fordism describes modern economic and social systems based on industrialized, standardized mass production and mass consumption. The concept (named for Henry Ford) is used in social, economic, and management theory about production, working conditions, consumption, and related phenomena, especially regarding the 20th century.