What is education ethics?

“Ethics requires us to think deeply about our positions on issues, and to take principled stands as a result of those positions.” by Derrick Bell (2002)

When I first see the sentence, “Ethics requires us to think deeply about our positions on issues, and to take principled stands as a result of those positions.” I can’t agree more. Derrick Bell highly refined what is ethics and how one can have such ethics. Ethics is rooted deeply in one’s mind. It may not be a daily topic for everyone, however, it is revealed through every contact and behavior in our daily life. Ethics is so important that it determines the final second of thought in front of struggled choices. With the growing process of civilization, more and more ethical challenges are confronted by humans. It is the transition era that the concern of ethics and morals must be brought out into everyone’s sight. It is the transition era that the higher education must play a significant role in constructing and promoting the contemporary ethics that involves all kinds of natural species.

I acknowledge that I’m not so knowledgeable that can come up with the critical concept of what is educational ethics. As a participant in higher education, I do have my responsibility to reflect what kind of educational ethics is called for the society. We often take it for granted that education is just one necessary step that we need to take before we enter into the real society. However, we seldom take a moment to think about what do we expect for education and what does the education expect for us. When we talk about education ethics, we are inclined to focus on scholars and professors, on their obligations and responsibilities. We may also focus on students, but we tend to emphasize more on academic ethics and integrity. The fact is, is it enough? Besides study and research, how many other stuffs that we spend on may also require high-principled ethics as a guidance? Do we really nurture our students in such a way that they can carry on with these high-principled ethics as a bible throughout any success and challenge that they’ve endured?

At least for me, the answer is, NO.

There is a goal for education. There is a goal for everything. Sometimes, the goal is only functional for the specific object. Some other times, the goal is extensively functioning throughout every corner of several objects. The goal for education, should be included in the second case. We always say that education is a public good. I admit its non-excludability, however, I doubt its non-rivalry. Competition is everywhere in education. We can never exclude competition in education as it is good in most cases. What we can do is to promote its inclusiveness, to eliminate its exclusiveness. Ethics education is one example of inclusiveness. We challenge students’ consciousness of certain topics and provide them with alternatives that may broaden their sight of views. And in the meantime, we keep reminding them to uphold their principled norms and ethics even with inevitable sacrifices. This kind of education ethics is working intrinsically and extrinsically, and subtly affecting the human mind as well as the surrounding environment. This is what I call, education ethics.

Please bear with me for my clumsy grammar and personal view, if any.
I’d appreciate any valuable suggestions and corrections.


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