Ethical behavior in teaching must become a central focus of all teacher preparation programs. Students in urban schools experience a high rate of failure and harsh disciplinary consequences, which attests to the widening achievement gap. Educators who demonstrate ethical pedagogy must adopt a “caring for” disposition so that transformative pedagogy and interaction, moves from thought to action. This critical discussion could lay a foundation for future research and development in equitable pedagogy. Unethical Behavior The zero tolerance policies and penalization disciplinary methods set the tone for a hostile and oppressive school environment, for some students. For other groups of students, school is a wonderful place where experiences are validated and all the heroes look like family members. Educators must begin to shift from apathy and ignorance to deliberate democratic and equitable treatment. Educators must be prepared to “care for” their students in a manner consistent with ethical and equitable principals, therefore, teacher preparation programs must prepare teachers to establish culturally responsive teaching and interacting in their classrooms and at large. In other words, teacher preparation programs must help teachers become better people, more capable of connecting with people from different social, cultural, economic or academic backgrounds. More importantly teachers must use those connections to bridge gaps, plan lessons and raise student successes. Shevalier and McKenzie (2012) make a compelling case in their insistence that caring for students involves a great deal more than thoughts and prayers. While caring for a student is desirable, there should also be a place for discipline that involves more than simply speaking it out with the student. Student discipline should not be negative, ie: removing opportunity, but, should be positive, ie. adding opportunity to increase the desired behavior. This might be reflected by having students who engage in fighting create a power point and give a talk to other students about the importance of resolving differences in a non-violent manner. This alternative notion of discipline is overlooked in their analysis of caring for. Disciplinary methods should seek to understand the reason for the behavior and should include corrective measures to increase the desire behavior. Preparing teachers Most teacher preparation programs focus on content but very little thought is given to social emotional understanding or nurturing relationships skills (Grossman & McDonald, 2008). These critical areas are under investigated because of the intangible nature of emotions and emotional connections. Yet, Shevalier and McKenzie (2012) provide practical ways for which teachers can be more effective. The recommendations Shevalier and McKenzie (2012) provide are strategies that teachers can begin to deliberately use in their pedagogy. These straightforward yet inspiring strategies may be misconstrued as simple logic, yet, the deliberate use of these strategies on a consistent basis, with an intentional ethical and equitable mindset, is critical for transforming student achievement in urban schools. University and alternative certification programs must begin to take critical steps to expand their curriculum to include preparation for an equity mindset. The education disparities are an embarrassment to public education systems across America. Decades of continued and persistent disproportionate achievement gains emphasize the need for a new and more thoughtful approach to pedagogy. Shevalier and McKenzie (2012) present an issue with great importance to teacher education, in an informative and operational manner. With over two decades of a conflict-ridden achievement gap one would have to wonder why old pedagogical methodology has not expanded to include considerations for ethical and equitable competency.
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