Just Teacher: Ethical dilemmas in the profession of teaching

Room 713/714, Level 7 100 Leicester Street Melbourne Graduate School of Education University of Melbourne

The Social Transformations and Education Research Hub
Unpacking Education Brown Bag Lunch Time Seminar

In this seminar, Dr Paula McAvoy, North Carolina State University, and Dr Lauren Gatti, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will draw upon their study that uses both empirical research and the tools of philosophy and professional ethics to articulate a conception of “professional teacher.” Teachers are particular types of professionals. Unlike lawyers, doctors, and engineers, whose work is often done in the private sphere, with adults, and one-to-one (meaning a doctor works with one patient at a time), teachers mostly work in the public sphere, with children, and in groups. Consequently, the teacher’s professional autonomy is necessarily limited by the fact that they must be responsible to: 1) the democratic aims of education, 2) parents and their legitimate interests in how their children are raised, 3) the well-being of individual children and groups of children, and 4) their professional training and conception of what good teaching requires.

Dr Paula McAvoy is Assistant Professor within the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences at North Carolina State University. She is the co-author with Diana Hess of The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education (Routledge, 2015). 

Dr Lauren Gatti is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She is currently working with Paula McAvoy on a book project about ethical dilemmas in teaching.