Disclaimer: This dissertation has been written by a student and is not an example of our professional work, which you can see examples of here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this dissertation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKDiss.com.

Ethical Stance of Secondary Teachers’ Decision-Making

Info: 7392 words (30 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

Reference this

Tagged: EducationTeaching



The focus of this research is to explore the ethical stance of secondary teachers’ decision- making in their content area.  The purpose of this chapter is to report on the wide array of research studies that provides a context for this study. The review of literature begins with defining ethics and proceeds to discuss the ethic of care and the ethic of justice. Then, the review moves to a discussion of teacher decision-making regarding the ethic of care and the ethic of justice.  Finally, the review examines the attitudes and beliefs of teachers in the classroom.

Research on Ethics vs. Morals

Ethics consists of more than just a person’s moral values and judgments. It also included its outward manifestation of a person’s identity and those attributes that affect whether one acts on or disregards the moral judgments one makes. (King & Kitchener, 1994).  However, before these factors can be successfully identified a complete understanding of the term ethics needs to be established. For this reason, it is important to distinguish and clarify the meaning of the terms which are closely related to the concept of ethics. Therefore, it is useful to look at the meaning of the term morals, also.

The difference between these two concepts was complicated by the fact that in a general view there is no distinction made between the words ethics and morals (King & Kitchener, 1994).  These words are also related in the fact that judged certain forms of human behavior or decisions taken are judged as right or wrong, good or bad (King & Kitchener, 1994).

According to Sulaiman (2000), the origin of the word ethics came from the Greek word ‘ethoses’, meaning habitual or customary conduct.  In this definition, ethics is concerned with what is good and right in human interaction (Sulaiman, 2000). Whereas, Navran (2001) stated that ethics are basically behaviors and tell people how to act in ways that meet the standards our values set for us.  The central idea of Sulaiman (2000) and Navran (2001) definitions are similar in the sense that both identified ethics as having a controlling function as well both definitions also acknowledged the fact that there are certain minimum requirements for the way people interact with one another in society. Staub (1978) stated that the term ethical is used for an abstract system of accepted beliefs that control behavior. Toffler (1986) defined ethics as rules or standards that govern behaviors.  Again, the same concepts as identified in the definitions of Sulaiman (2000) and Navran (2001) surfaced in these definitions that ethics has a controlling element in terms of governing standards of human behavior, and behavior should be of the highest quality as opposed to immoral.

Definition of Morals

The word morals originated from the Latin word ‘mores’, which meant customary behavior (Sulaiman, 2000).  According to Keith (1991) the term moral is commonly used in two distinct ways:

• It defines those areas of concern that considers questions of right and wrong

• It is also used to determine what is good, right or just.

The description of morals by Keith (1991) contained similar attributes to the definitions of ethics previously discussed, since it also concerned with determining what is right and wrong as well as good and just.  Toffler (1986) described the term moral as relating to principles of right and wrong or arising from one’s conscience or a sense of good and evil.  Keith (1991) reviewed the various definitions of the terms ethical and moral and concluded that all definitions focused on key concepts like modifiable behavior or interaction according to what is believed to be right and good.


The term ‘ethics’ and ‘morals’ seem to be interchangeable from the definitions.  Although this not exhaustive, it gives me a foundation to begin my literature review.

Theoretical Views on Ethics

Ethic of Justice

Kohlberg (1971) was the first to discuss the ethic of justice through his research on moral development.  He believed that an ethic of justice was broken down into using the six stages of moral development (Kohlmeier & Saye, 2012).  Kohlberg (1971) believed that, as a child’s personality matures, thinking about right and wrong begins at a pre-conventional level, and then progresses to a conventional level. The final stage, the post-conventional thinking is when the human personality is at its maturity. Kohlberg (1971) stated that ‘the post-conventional stage is when decisions are made whether an action is right or wrong by an impartial assessment of fairness, its respect for the rights of others, and it advancement for the common good’ (p. 35). He defined an ethic of justice as ‘everything must be rational, objective, and impartial, showing no emotion’ (p. 36). At this point, he informed that an ethic of justice is more common for men than women.  Gilligan (1982) disagreed that an ethic of justice is more common for males.  She stated that an ethic of justice shows no gender boundary.

Callan (1992) based his definition of an ethic of justice on intangible and formal principles, like justice, fairness, equality or authority. An individual that possesses an ethic of justice perceives ethical dilemmas as involving primarily a difference in one’s rights which can be solved by some general law that applies to all individuals in the same manner (Callan, 1992; Kohlberg, 1971).  Individuals with an ethic of justice usually do not like making exceptions based on unique circumstances and worry about setting patterns that maybe applied differently (Callan, 1992).

According to Johnstone (1989) and Beauchamp & Childress (1994) from their research, an ethic of justice can be examined in terms of fairness and entitlement. Rawls (1971) also discussed justice in terms of impartiality as well as fairness. Rawls (1971) included from his research that each person has an equal right to the comprehensive system of liberty offered by society, and the inevitable societal inequities must be arranged for the greatest benefit of the least fortunate.

If there is an advantage to an ethic of justice, it is that it looks at an ethical dilemma in a sensible and objective manner (Callan, 1992; Rawls, 1971). An ethic of justice individual will try to be neutral and fair in making their decision in the ethical issue (Starratt, 1991). The disadvantage of an ethic of justice is that individuals who rely on it might lose their perspective of the individuals involved in the dilemma (Starratt, 1991). An ethic of justice individual may inadvertently bully or annoy the people around them regarding their own agenda (Starratt, 1991). Carried to an extreme, an individual who strongly prefers an ethic of justice may accept human anguish in the name of some principle or law (Callan, 1992). If you do not possess an ethic of justice, you may view these individuals with an ethic of justice as inflexible, unfeeling and uncaring (Callan, 1992; Starratt, 1991).

Ethic of Care

Carol Gilligan (1982) developed the ethic of care from her study of Kohlberg’s ethic of justice research.  Gilligan challenged Kohlberg’s study and found it did not depict a feminine side of moral development.  Gilligan (1982) defined an ethic of care mainly in terms of helping others and minimizing harm in each situation.  Empathy is enacted within the individual deciding an ethical dilemma which is a strong characteristic of an ethic of care.  Noddings’ (1992) agreed and included that an ethic of care is established on a sense of responsibility to reduce actual harm or suffering on individuals involved.  Caputo (2000) found in her study of Gilligan’s model of moral reasoning, that some people approach difficult ethical decisions as situational and in response to needs and relationships of the people involved, often including themselves in their decision. People who think this way operate with a care voice (Caputo, 2000).  The care voice, is emphasized by the desire to maintain connection in relationships and to respond situationally and compassionately to the needs, feelings, and desires of others (Caputo, 2000). Individuals who experience empathic connection to others and who see others in relation to themselves operate within the ethic of care.

Noddings (1992) identified that if an individual possesses an ethic of care, ethical dilemmas generally involve a conflict of duties or responsibilities. Gilligan (1982) determined that an individual with an ethic of care believes that every ethical dilemma begins with a specific individual and the particular circumstances of the case needs to involve equity to the specific individual and situation.  Johnstone (1989) agreed with Gilligan (1982) and included that resolutions to the ethical dilemma, then, must be tailored to the special details of individual circumstances. Noddings (1992) suggested that the concept of equity or what is suitable for the ethical situation is favored by an ethic of care individual. Setting a pattern or standard does not intimidate individuals with an ethic of care, and they tend to feel controlled by policies and procedures that are intended to be enforced without exception (Gilligan, 1982).  Johnstone (1989) included in his description of an ethic of care on interdependence, mutuality and recognition of context, and moral emotions such as sympathy and compassion.

If there is an advantage to an ethic of care is that it is reactive to immediate anguish that is put on another individual. This approach is accommodating, caring and subjectively appropriate to the ethical situation (Gilligan, 1982; Noddings, 1988).  An ethic of care individual will react quickly to changing circumstances and is not preoccupied with setting patterns or standards (Gilligan, 1982). When carried to an extreme, an ethic of care can produce decisions that seem not simply personal, but leaving it to chance (Gilligan, 1982; Noddings, 1988).

It seems that an ethic of care may be perceived to be more feminine due to the fact individuals define themselves primarily in terms of their relationships with other people (Gilligan, 1982). Gilligan (1982) disagreed that an ethic of care it is more common for females.  Gilligan (1982) concluded that the ethic of care shows no gender boundary, as well.  Gilligan and Attanucci (1988), in their study on moral orientation, stated that an individual’s moral consideration is not random but tends to be focused in either care or justice orientations.

An Ethic of Care and Justice in the Classroom

The ethic of care in the classroom has been described by Gilligan (1982) as,

Teachers have responsibility for their students.  An ethic of care is based on a network of relationships that develops a feeling of connectedness accompanied by the construction of a sense of responsibility for students, colleagues and the school, such that an ethic of caring can be visualized as a web of relationships that is sustained by a process of communication between the teacher and student, between teacher and teacher, and teacher and administration in the school. (p. 32)

Likewise, Noddings (1984) explained the ethic of care as one that teaches teachers to feel for others, thereby leading to the virtues of concern and empathy. Noddings (1989) suggested that “caring is not an individual virtue but rather a rational state or quality” (p. 236). The role of educators, as Noddings (1989) noted, was to “encourage the actual growth of relational virtues and to establish learning conditions that permit people to contribute to their relational growth” (p. 237).   Noddings (1984) described these relational virtues as sharing, supporting, cooperating, showing concern and demonstrating empathy in the classroom and the nature of the learning activities in which students must be engaged in the learning.

Routman (1991) stated that to facilitate an ethic of care and an ethic of justice in the classroom, the curriculum must focus on the learning experiences of the students that build social relationships, foster community and enhance consideration for others. These relational events engage everyone (teacher and student) in reciprocal relationships and are a daily part of everything teachers and students do (Noddings, 1984).   Noddings (1984) suggested that an ethic of justice in the classroom is fundamentally concerned with fairness, that is, each student should be viewed as mattering equally, and should have equal rights to freedom and opportunities in the learning community. Gilligan (1987) suggested that both ethical perspectives are needed in the classroom:

All human relationship, public and private, can be characterized both in terms of equality and in terms of attachment, and, both inequality and detachment constitute grounds for moral concern. Since everyone is vulnerable both to oppression and to abandonment, two moral vision, one of justice and one of care, recur in human experience. The moral injunction, not to act unfairly towards others, and not to turn away from someone in need, captures these different concerns. (p. 20)

Gilligan and Attanucci (1988) suggested from their findings that individuals know and use both justice and care perspectives in their moral orientations. Reich (1997) stressed that an ethic of care and an ethic of justice have an association and should not be critics of each other as they are portrayed.  Calhoun (1988) maintained that an ethic of care and an ethic of justice are not mutually exclusive. Noddings (1986) agreed and stated that genuine care needs at least an admixture of justice, particularly in education. Gilligan (1982) included that empathy and reasoning should not be excluded from each other.

Combining Ethic of Care with Ethic of Justice Approaches in Decision Making within the Classroom

The ethics of care approach may appear at times unclear or biased for some moral and ethical issues that may arise in the classroom, yet it offers a way of thinking that considers caring for the student that is fundamental in education and the helping professions (Gilligan, 1982; Noddings, 1984). Likewise, an ethic of justice approach to an ethical dilemma stresses the role of reason in performing the right or proper action regarding the situation that might arise in the classroom (Noddings, 1984; Routman, 1991; Callan, 1992).

To formulate appropriate ethical decisions when faced with a dilemma in the classroom, the teacher ought to combine an ethics of care approach with an ethic of justice approach (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001; Manning, 1998).

By combining both approaches, care and justice, in the classroom the teacher will have more options as a course of action (Noddings, 1984; Gilligan, 1982).  Campbell (2003a) acknowledged that the ‘embedded and implicit nature of much of teachers’ moral practice’ in her research, but she considered the teacher to be a ‘moral professional’ whose conscious knowledge of her own standards and what she wants to present and model to her students together constitute an ethical agency (p. 2, 3). Professional ethics “is the realization of good and the struggle against bad as they apply to the everyday practice of teachers as individuals and as a collective professional group in the classroom” (Campbell, 2003a, p. 9).  We want teachers whose practice demonstrates Campbell’s (2003a) list of common sense principles: kindness, honesty, fairness, protection of the weak, respect for all people which are relational traits of an ethic of care and an ethic of justice.

Ethical decisions occur within a given situation, and these situations must be considered when attempting to apply several principles. As the case study examples illustrate, when an ethics of care and an ethic of justice are combined, better ethical decisions can be made and decisions that are ethically sound will provide guidance for appropriate and caring interventions (Noddings, 1984).

Teacher Decision Making in regard to Curriculum

Teachers need to make decisions regarding curriculum instantly in the classroom, but the administration want teachers to follow the set guidelines. The rationale seems to be that teachers and teacher educators cannot be trusted to make good instructional decisions on their own, so we must find the perfect method for teaching and force this on everyone (Duffy & Hoffman, 1999).  New educational legislation is not designed to encourage teachers to use professional decision making.  Bond and Dykstra (1967), in the conclusion of their research on first grade reading instruction, determined that a combination of reading programs was superior to any single reading program in supporting children in learning to read. Effective teachers use the information gathered from formal and informal assessments to address their students’ individual needs. These teachers make decisions about how and what to teach based on their students’ strengths and needs. Teachers may teach short lessons or mini-lessons to the entire class when that seems appropriate (Weaver, 1994), but will address individual needs during the lesson on an individual basis/assistance (Lapp et al., 2004; Pressley et al., 2001). In this position, educators have developed various rationales for teaching to be differentiated from other occupations by saying that “teaching is seen as becoming more complex and more skilled with teachers being involved more in leadership roles, partnership with colleagues, shared decision-making and providing consultancy to others in their own areas of expertise” (Hargreaves, 1994. p.14).

From the perspective of tradition, circumstance and personality there are alternatives and even conflicting judgment ideals which can affect teacher decision making in regard to their attitudes and beliefs in the classroom (Rawls, 1997; Thompson, 2006).  Clark and Peterson (1986) found from their research on teacher decision making that it often focused on three areas where teachers might engage in making decisions: before instruction (pre-active decision-making), during instruction (interactive decision-making), and after instruction (post-active decision-making). Clark and Peterson (1986) argued that instructional decisions in the classroom as well as in their teaching, post-active decision-making becomes after a certain length of time instruction as pre-active decision-making for tomorrow’s class instruction.

Pre-active Decision Making

The majority of research on teachers’ decision-making has been focused on the pre-active stage.  Pre-active decision making is similar to planning for instruction (Clark & Yinger, 1987; Shavelson & Stern, 1981).  Calderhead (1996) examined the available literature on elementary teachers’ pre-active thinking/decision making.  His review found that pre-active decision making is more about planning and the effects.  Calderhead (1996) discovered that if planning occurs it supports the teacher in regard to time, content, informality, knowledge of content/curriculum, knowledge of the school environment, and the flexibility.

Duschl and Wright (1989) and John (1991) from their research with high school teachers agreed with Calderhead (1996). Duschl and Wright (1989) concluded that high school teachers’ pre-active/planning decisions were focused on the level of the students, the curriculum and responsibility of teaching. They each informed that when teachers begin the pre-active/planning stage that they do not follow any particular format.

In John’s (1991) research, he found that one of the main concerns of teachers in his sample were the abilities and needs of their students and that the teachers’ understandings of the nature of the content had a significant impact on their planning. Their pre-active decision making was in a manner that was consistent with their view of their content area (John, 1991).

Andresen, Barrett, Powell and Wieneke (1985) research is one of the few studies with college teachers in which they conducted weekly interviews with seven college teachers from a variety of disciplines. Andresen et al (1985) concluded that these college instructors seem to have developed a routine in regard to planning so that they could be better prepared for their instruction.

Interactive Decision Making

Teachers’ decision-making is usually on the planned lesson although if the lesson is not going as planned the teacher needs to make changes for the students to have an understanding. Research shows that most teachers will continue with the lesson instead of making those changes (Yinger, 1980). It seems that this might not be the best decision that teachers could make due to some of the issues that may arise for the students and for the classroom.

Since some teachers do not like to make changes or modifications in the middle of their lesson their thinking or reasoning is based on they do not want to disrupt the flow of the lesson. Again, this decision may work for some teachers but not for all. It has been suggested that teachers develop a mental script when in the pre-active stage to follow in the interactive stage (Yinger, 1980). This mental script may be deviated from with some disruption in the classroom. The teacher needs to the aware and prepared for such disruptions regarding their pre-active decision-making.

Post-active Decision Making

Post-active thinking on the part of the teacher occurs through reflection of the lesson that had just been taught.  Dewey (1939) was one of the first researchers to inform teachers to reflect.  Reflection conjures up several questions that the teacher will need to answer:

  • What went right in the lesson?
  • What did not work?
  • What should I do differently to help my students to succeed?
  • What changes need to be made to the lesson and delivery?

By reflecting, the teacher will improve upon their implementation of the materials in the lesson that need to be taught the inclusion of the student learning as well.  Through this process, Dewey (1939) included that the reflection needs to be systematic in nature and must include an action on part of the teacher.  If the teachers reflect on their practice, then they must be willing to implement an action plan of change to improve upon their delivery as well as the content presented.

Summary of Research on Teaching

Teachers are in any unique position in the classroom. Their decision-making is ever involving and changing depending on the students and the situation in the classroom. If a teacher follows a format beginning with pre-active moving to interactive and finishing with post-active decision-making, the teacher seems to be more aware and in better understanding for the curriculum and the students. In that regard, the teacher develops a positive decision-making process to better their instruction, students and the classroom environment.

Teacher Beliefs and Attitudes


The beliefs teacher bring with them to the classroom will have an effect and influence their pedagogy.

A teacher’s beliefs determine their understanding of phenomena in the classroom and define how teachers’ addresses or don’t address such phenomena. Beliefs as defined in this review are influenced by the work of Blake (2002), Nespor (1987), Pajares (1992), Streitmatter (1994), and Weiler (1988) and are the personal predispositions, paradigms and perspectives, and personal views about teaching and learning in relation to the classroom. Beliefs are grounded in our individual experiences and frame the manner in which we make sense of our lives. I question what Pajares (1992) seemed to conclude, in that what teachers believe with regard to their teaching and learning is the only factor driving their pedagogical practice. Proposing a broader view, Fang (1996) suggested that beliefs may or may not relate to practice, alluding to the perceived availability of choices.

Attitudes of teachers can have a direct and significant impact on the success or failure of students. The attitudes of teachers are often tied to their beliefs. The attitudes and beliefs are formed from experiences in life, in the classroom, education and bias. While teachers cannot stop themselves from developing attitudes and beliefs they can take steps to guide themselves into attitudes and beliefs that will have a positive impact on their teaching efforts (Thompson, Warren, & Carter, 2004).   Cohen (1997) defined equity as equal-status in classroom interaction, and referred to equity as a “highly valued goal for educators [warning that]…contemporary rhetoric idealizes classrooms where ‘all children can learn’ and where ‘all children are seen as smart” (p. 3). However, from a sociological perspective, Cohen (1997) also stated that, “It is necessary to understand the forces outside and inside the classroom that create inequity among students” (p. 3).

Thompson, Warren and Carter (2004) used a regression analysis process to identify the characteristics of teachers in an underachieving high school who were most likely to be critical of students and their parents for students’ low achievement. The results revealed that teachers showed their negativity towards the students and their parents for their underperformance. To overcome this negative negativity, the teachers need to be given professional development to support them in changing their attitudes and beliefs. The teachers also need to be aware how their attitudes and beliefs affect the students and the parents as well as the classroom and school environments (Thompson et al, 2004).  If it is not a welcoming environment, parents and students may be left out of the learning that needs to be taking place.

The study acknowledged the fact that there have been many changes in education over the years, but points out the fact that there has always been and continues to be a disparity in the success rate of low income and ethnic students in the school system.

While teacher attitudes and beliefs have come under scrutiny for more than three decades, for the most part research has focused on elementary school education (Midgley, 2002).  One past study concluded that the attitude of teachers toward individual students become a sort of self -fulfilling prophecy (Brophy & Good, 1970; Farkas, 1996).

Cooper (1979) and Ryan (1981) discovered that when teachers were informed that some students were either academically high or low, based on IQ levels, these teachers treated the students on a different level, even though in reality the groups had been switched. Cooper (1979) and Ryan (1981) also discovered that the effects of teacher expectations play a factor on the students’ achievement. Low socio-economic students and students of color are treated differently and not expected to be seen as equals in regard to the teachers’ beliefs and attitudes (Delpit, 1995).  This discovery underscored the significant impact that a teacher’s attitude and beliefs can have on students regarding their ability to succeed or their belief the student will fail.

Delpit (1995) illustrated the fact that teachers who have a positive attitude and high expectations for a student are more apt to praise that student. A teacher who has an attitude that a student or a group of students cannot succeed will not be inclined to provide any encouragement or praise and when the student struggles the teacher does not offer help as there is a general attitude or belief that the student will fail anyway so why bother trying.

Teachers’ expectations may be underscored in how they ask questions give feedback and express their personal thoughts. These may be positive but also in negative towards the student. Teachers have a habit of not looking at all students as equals. The sometimes rely on the smarter students in the classroom to answer any questions or concerns and not the students that may take some time to answer a question (Parsley & Corcoran, 2003). This is due to the facts that time is of value. The students that are not called upon to answer any questions understand that the teacher perceives them to be low achievers and potential at risk (Parsley & Corcoran, 2003).   Parsley & Corcoran (2003) have indicated that students who have experienced attitudes of low expectations from teachers will withdraw psychologically and will begin to fulfill the teacher’s expectations. Over three years, even after leaving the low expectation teacher the student will continue to fail to reach for goals or to improve educational performance.

Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs have a great impact on student’s performance and achievement (Apple, 1990; Collins, 1992; Cooper, 1979; Drew, 1996). Attitudes and beliefs that are skeptical and negative over a period have negative effects on the students and the classroom (Thompson et al, 2004). Teachers need to understand that their attitudes and beliefs play an important factor in the lives of the students.  The findings of this research, simply stated, are that students for whom teachers have low expectations are taught much less effectively than their high-expectation students.  The effects in the classroom regarding the teachers’ decision making provide fewer opportunities for learn for all students, spend less time on instruction-related activities, and all students receive less curricular content (or receive content that has been “diluted”). Teachers are less apt to direct instruction and are less likely to be aware of, or more likely to tolerate, non-attending behavior on the part of each students, and tend to place fewer demands on them for classroom performance, homework assignments, and overall academic effort (Braun 1976; Brophy & Good 1974; Cooper 1979; Good 1981; Thompson et al, 2004).

Attitudes and Beliefs in Relation to Teaching and Learning

Attitudes and beliefs about teaching and learning, about their content area, about gender, and about teachers in relation to all pedagogical practice are not limited to classroom or professional practice but are also implied in the manner in which teachers view themselves personally and socially (Nespor, 1987).  Nespor (1987) concluded that these attitudes serve as the filter and foundation of teacher knowledge about teaching and learning.

Nespor (1987) attempted to unearth the source of teacher beliefs, and argued that these are the product of previous events and experiences. The images of past events and, how they are perceived, act as a filter for new information. Bryan (2003) focused on attitudes and beliefs of a prospective elementary teacher from a constructivist perspective, examining her belief system about science teaching and learning as she developed professional knowledge. Findings revealed contradictions between beliefs framed by experience and those acquired as new experiences are added to one’s schema of life. New experiences serve to have us re-examine the past. The findings put emphasis on the complexity and enclosures of teachers’ belief systems and underscored the significance of identifying teachers’ beliefs.

I understand that attitudes and beliefs are factors and causes of how teachers see themselves and the specific context within which they enact behavior. Blake (2002) focused on the immediate and specific context of teacher attitudes and beliefs in regard to how that affects their ethical foundation in the classroom. Blake (2002) implied that some influential factors that guided teachers’ observed practices of their ethical stance are those practices upheld and valued by society as well as the school site administration and parents. In essence, these influential factors are practiced for the sake of student outcomes that are considered important and reflected by daily discourse that defines the structure of schools set forth by school districts and state departments setting specific expectations in terms of pedagogical practice.

Influences on teachers’ attitudes and beliefs are not limited to the social institutions of schools but to the broader constructs of a society that involve the individual human construction that shape principles and moral judgments and are tied to defined gender-specific expectations of such society. This does not mean that their attitudes and beliefs are facts that are ‘so locked out’ and ‘out of the realm of possibilities’ to be grasped or attained. They are, however, based on experiential information that one creates and holds. In addition to framing one’s interpretation of experiences, attitudes and beliefs are also rich in meaning to an individual because attitudes and beliefs are developed within the context of the individual’s life. For teachers, this is relevant to reflection upon their lives and understanding that due to their experiences, different interpretations may emerge. Looking back on teachers’ past experiences does not always render the same interpretations and this leads to the incorporation of new information into the teachers own existing attitude and belief system.

By self-reflection in relation to their actions and what guides attitudes and beliefs, teachers can also make their pre-existing personal attitudes and beliefs explicit; at least in their own minds. A heightened understanding of the teachers’ attitudes and beliefs would then imply that pedagogy can take place within a higher level of consciousness that would provide teachers a view of the structures, constraints and imposed limitations that have framed their actions in the classroom.

The teacher will need to understand how their beliefs and attitudes affect the classroom situations which can help the teacher seek further the understanding of their decision making in the classroom. The teacher will need to further evaluate and clarify those discrepancies between their attitudes and beliefs in the classroom.


Andresen, L., Barrett, E., Powell, J., & Wieneke, C. (1985). Planning and monitoring courses:

University teachers reflect on their teaching. Instructional Science 13, 305–328.

Apple, M. (1990). Ideology and curriculum. (2nd ed.), New York, NY: Routledge

Beauchamp, T., & Childress, J. (1994). Principles of biomedical ethics, (4th ed.) New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Blake, D. (2002). Personal values and environmental attitudes, In J. Everitt, and B. O’Neill (Eds.) Citizen politics: Research and theory in Canadian political behavior. Don Mills, CA: Oxford University Press.

Bond, G.L., & Dykstra, R. (1967). The cooperative research program in first-grade reading instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 2(4), 5–142.

Braun, C. (1976). Teacher expectations: Sociopsychological dynamics. Review of Educational Research, 46(2), 185-213.

Brophy, J. E. & Good, T. L. (1970). Teacher communication of differential expectations for children’s classroom performance. Journal of Educational Psychology 61, 365-374.

Bryan, L. (2003). The nestedness of beliefs: Examining a prospective elementary teacher’s beliefs about science teaching and learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 835–868.

Calderhead, J. (1996). Teachers: Beliefs and knowledge. In D. C. Berliner, & R. C. Calfee

(Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp.709-725). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.

Calhoun, C. (1988). Justice, care, gender bias. Journal of Philosophy 85(9), 451-463.

Callan, V. J., (1992). Predicting ethical values and training needs in ethics. Journal of

Business Ethics 11, 761–769.

Campbell, E. (2003a). The ethical teacher. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.

Caputo, J. (2000).  The end of ethics. In Blackwell Studies, ed. Hugh Follette.

Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. 111-128

Clark, C. & Peterson, P. (1986). Teachers’ thought processes. In Third handbook of research on

teaching Wittrock, M.C. (Ed.). Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.

Clark, C., & Yinger, R. (1979). Teachers’ thinking. In P. L. Peterson & H. J.

Walberg (Eds.), Research on teaching: Concepts, findings, and implications.

Berkeley, CA: McCutchan.

Cohen, E. G. (1997). Equity in heterogeneous classrooms: A challenge for teachers and sociologists. In E.G. Cohen & R.A. Lotan (Eds.), Working for equity in heterogeneous classrooms: Sociological theory in action. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 3–14.

Collins, M. (1992). Ordinary children, extraordinary teachers. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

Cooper, H.M. (1979). Pygmalion grows up: A model for teacher expectation communication and performance influence. Review of Educational Research, 49, 389-410.

Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York, NY: New Press.

Dewey, J. (1963). Experience and education. New York, NY: Collier Books. (Original work published in 1938)

Drew, D. E. (1996). Aptitude revisted: Rethinking math and science education for America’s next century. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Duffy, G. G., & Hoffman, J. V. (1999). In pursuit of an illusion: The search for a perfect method.

Reading Teacher, 53(1), 10-16.

Duschl, R. A. & Wright, E. (1989). A case study of high school teachers’ decision-

making models for planning and teaching science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 26, 467–501.

Fang, Z. (1996). A review of research on teacher beliefs and practices. Educational Research, 38, 47-64.

Farkas, G. (1996). Human capital or cultural capital?  Ethnicity and poverty groups in an urban

school district.  New York, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.

Gilligan, C., & Attanucci, J. (1988). Two moral orientations: Gender differences and similarities.

Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 33(3), 223-237

Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Good, T. L. (1981). Teacher expectations and student perceptions: A decade of research. Educational Leadership, 38, 415-21.

Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. G. (1992). Understanding Teacher Development. New York, NY:

Teachers College Press

John, P. D. (1991). Course, curricular, and classroom influences on the development of

student teachers’ lesson planning perspectives.  Teaching and Teacher Education 7(4), 359-372.

Johnstone, M.J. (1987). Professional ethics in nursing: a philosophical analysis. The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 4(3), 12-21.

Keith, S. (1991). Whose morals shall we teach? School of Education Review 3, 11-12.

King, P. & Kitchener, K. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting

intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers

Kohlberg, L. (1971). From is to ought: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get

away with it in the study of moral development. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

Kohlmeier, J. & Saye, J.W. (2012) Justice or care? ethical reasoning of preservice social studies

teachers. Theory & Research in Social Education, 40(4), 409-435.

Manning, R.C. (1998). A care approach. In H. Kuhse, & P. Singer (Eds.), A companion to

bioethics (98-105). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Lapp, D., Block, C.C., Cooper, E. J., Flood, J., Roser, N. & Tinajero, J.V. (2004).  Teaching all

the children:  Strategies for developing literacy in an urban setting.  New York, NY:  The Guilford Press.

Midgley C. (2002). Goals, goal structures, and patterns of adaptive learning. Hillsdale, NJ:


Navran, F., (2001). 12 steps to building a best-practices ethics program. Workforce 76, 65-78.

Nespor, J. (1987). The role of beliefs in the practice of teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies. 19(4), 317 – 328.

Noddings, N. (1984). Caring, a feminine approach to ethics & moral education. Berkeley, CA:

University of California Press

Noddings, N. (1989). Women and evil. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press

Pajares, M. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research 3, 307 – 332.

Parsley, K. & Corcoran, C. (2003). The classroom teacher role in preventing school failure. Kappa Delta Pi, 39(2), 84-87.

Pressley, M., Wharton-McDonald, R., Allington, R. L., Block, C. C., Morrow, L., Tracey, D.,

Baker, K., Brooks, G., Cronin, J., Nelson, E., & Woo, D. (2001). A study of effective first-grade literacy instruction. Scientific Studies in Reading 5, 35-58.

Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice, revised edition. New York, NY: Belknap Press.

Reich, W. (1995). Care ii: Historical dimensions of an ethics of care in health care. In

Encyclopedia of Bioethics, revisededition, Warren T. Reich (Ed.), (331-361). NewYork, NY: Simon & Schuster Macmillan

Routman, R., (1991). Invitations: Changing as teachers and learners K-12.  Toronto, CA: Invin


Ryan, K., (199). Mining the values in the curriculum. Educational Leadership 51, 16-18.

Shavelson, R. & Stern, P. (1981). Research on teachers’ pedagogical thoughts, judgments,

decisions and behavior. Review of Educational Research, 51(4), pp. 455–498.

Starratt, R.J. (1991). Building an ethical school: A theory for practice in educational leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly 27, 185-202.

Staub, E., (1978). Positive social behavior and morality: Social and personal influences (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Academic Press.

Streitmatter, J. (1994). Toward gender equity in the classroom: Everyday teachers’ beliefs and practices. Albany, NY: SUNY

Sulaiman, S. (2000).  The origin and essence of ethics.  The religious vs. the universal.  (on-line:

Google accessed 09/26/2017)

Thompson, G. L., Warren, S. & Carter, L. (2004). It’s not my fault: predicting high school teachers who blame parents and students for students’ low achievement.  High School Journal 87 (3), 15-23

Toffler, B. E. (1986).  Tough choices.  New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Weaver, C. (1994). Reading process and practice: From socio-psycholinguistics to whole

language. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Weiler, K. (1988).  Women teaching for change: Gender, class and power.  New York, NY: Bergin & Garvey.

Yinger, R.J. (1980). A study of teacher planning: description and a model of pre-active decision‐

making. Elementary School Journal, 80, 107–127

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

All Tags

Content relating to: "Teaching"

Teaching is a profession whereby a teacher will help students to develop their knowledge, skills, and understanding of a certain topic. A teacher will communicate their own knowledge of a subject to their students, and support them in gaining a comprehensive understanding of that subject.

Related Articles

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this dissertation and no longer wish to have your work published on the UKDiss.com website then please: