Codes of ethics in Australian education: towards a national perspective
Teachers have a dual moral responsibility as both values educators and moral agents representing the integrity of the profession. Codes of ethics and conduct in teaching articulate shared professional values and aim to provide some guidance for action around recognised issues special to the profession but are also instruments of regulation which position teachers in sanctioned roles. This paper offers a rationale for reviewing the purposes of codes of ethics in Australia as instruments which profoundly influence teacher morality and have significant educational implications. As one of the first comparative reviews of Australian state and territory codes of ethics and conduct procedures the author finds that policies around ethical action in teaching can be characterised as either aspirational’ or procedural’; each type shaping teacher role morality differently. The aim is to spur dialogue about notions of value and to articulate problems of individual autonomy, regulatory control and collective integrity.