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Running head: REFLECTION !


Rebekah Pohlen

EDU689: Personal Ethics & Leadership Capacity

Instructor: Brett James

February 13, 2017



Analysis. I was amazed to learn that there are paradigms associated with ethics. The

first one I learned about is the ethic of justice. "The ethics of justice focuses on rights" (Shapiro

& Stefkovich, 2011, Ch. 2 para 5) and laws of individuals and establishments. It is through the

ethic of justice that we determine the "legal principles and ideals" (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2011,

Ch. 2 para. 14) associated with dilemmas.

The second paradigm I learned about is the ethic of critique. This paradigm is my

favorite because "rather than accepting the ethic of those in power [we] challenge the status quo

by seeking an ethic that will deal with inconsistencies, formulate the hard questions, and debate

and challenge the issues" (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2011, Ch. 2 para. 17). I once had a boss that

told me never to ask 'why.' He told me I just needed to follow his orders no matter what I felt. It

always felt wrong to me, and I always thought I should be able to ask 'why.' I have learned

through the ethic of critique that I have the right to challenge my superior if I find that the orders

go against my code of ethics.

The third paradigm is the ethic of care. I think this is the most important ethic when

dealing with students and coworkers. The ethic of care creates "leaders and learners who wish to

listen to others when facing the need to make important moral decisions" (Shapiro & Stefkovich,

2011, Ch. 2 para. 37). The ethic of care helps teachers "assist young people in meeting their

needs and desires and will reflect solutions that show a concern for others" (Shapiro &

Stefkovich, 2011, Ch. 2 para. 39). The last paradigm that I learned about was the ethic of the

profession. I think this ethic is determined by your career. Each career field has its form of


Evaluation. I value integrity above all else. The Air Force taught me "Integrity first,

Service before self, and Excellence in all we do" (United States Air Force Core Values, 1997, p.

4). Integrity, fairness, and justice are all very similar. People with integrity tend to be more

honest. "Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or

not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the

consequences will be" (Anderson, 2012, para. 1).

Just does not always mean fair. I define justice as "a person of integrity [that] practices

justice. Those who do similar things must get similar rewards or similar punishments" (United

States Air Force Core Values, 1997, p. 6). For example, a group of students is tasked with

completing a paper. All but one cheats on the paper and when it is turned in all names are on it.

It might not be fair to punish everyone in the group, but it is just. That student should have said

something to the students or the teacher instead of turning it in.

Integrity, fairness, and justice are essential qualities that a teacher should have. Teachers

build relationships with students, coworkers, and families. Therefore, they should be honest,

fair, and just when making decisions. Integrity is important when making decisions based on

data. I believe it is morally and ethically wrong to skew the data to meet the needs of the school.

I am a big believer in differentiated learning. I think it is only fair that all students are given the

same opportunities to succeed. Leaders must have a firm grasp of justice, even more so when

that leader is in charge of children. "Justice usually has been used with reference to a standard of

rightness [while] fairness often has been used with regard to an ability to judge without reference

to one's feelings or interests" (Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, S. J., & Meyer, 1990, para. 3).

Summary. One of the ways educational leaders sustain a highly ethical learning

environment that promotes ethical behaviors is through the creation of a professional code of

ethics. Ethics are the "standards or codes to provide people to guidance in their professional

lives" (Gulcan, 2014, p. 2623). Therefore by creating a code of ethics for your school, you are

giving your staff a guideline on what you expect out of them both professionally and personally.

Teachers need "ethical standards in order to be self-regulating and accountable as

professionals" (Campbell, 2000, p. 218).

"Great principals know that their to build community among the students,

teachers, parents, and staff, who need to share a common set of purposes" (Robinson, 2015, p.

188). Educational leaders should also have a professional paradigm in place. The professional

paradigm is created to:

A. Ensure a system of accountability for every student's academic and social success;

B. Model principles of self-awareness, reflective practice, transparency, and ethical


C. Safeguard the values of democracy, equity, and diversity;

D. Consider and evaluate the potential moral and legal consequences of decision-


E. Promote social justice and ensure that individual student needs inform all aspects of

schooling. (as cited in Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2011, Ch. 2 para. 48)

Code of ethics. I think of the code of ethics as a guideline "for responsible behavior and

sets forth a common basis for resolving the principal ethical dilemmas encountered" (National

Association for the Education of Young Children, 2014, p. 1). Therefore it is important to

include individual components in the code of ethics when creating it. There should be, at the

very least, an ethical conduct to students, an ethical conduct to coworkers, and an ethical conduct

to family.

Some, if not all of, the ethical paradigms of care, justice, critique, and profession should

be included in the code of ethics. Using the different paradigms "students and practitioners will

be able to work through their own personal and professional ethical codes, tryout what they

discovered about themselves by reflection on the solutions they reach as they analyze diverse

ethical dilemmas" (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2011, Ch. 1 para. 29). The use of the paradigms in the

code of ethics will ensure it is valid.

One thing I realized is that ethics and morals are different. "Ethics is more important

than morality in creating a functioning society" (Welsh, 2015, para. 5), or in my case a

functioning school. "Ethics leans towards decisions based upon individual character, and the

more subjective understanding of right and wrong by individuals whereas morals emphasizes

the widely-shared communal or societal norms about right and wrong" (Walker & Lovat, 2014,

para. 4). When creating a code of ethics, we must remember to separate our personal morals and

focus on our personal ethics.


Ethical challenges prediction. It 's hard for me to predict any ethical challenges that

may arise. I am still learning what it means to teach and lead. One thing I have found during my

studies is that some people are unwilling to make the changes necessary to improve. One

challenge I might face is my lack of experience. To compensate for my lack of experience I will

need to work hard and continue to study in the field of education. I want to build trust between

myself and others and to do that I must show that I am trustworthy.

I know that I will have to deal with many different people. As a leader, I will need to

know how to handle dilemmas and issues. There will be ethical issues between teachers,

students, and sometimes families. I understand that it will not be easy but "nothing in the world

is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty" (as cited by Baer &

Feloni, 2016, slide 1).

School leadership in the 21st century specialization. This specialization was not my

first choice. I decided on school leadership after learning about the common core state standards.

I want to give a voice to those that are not heard. Teachers should have a say in what they teach.

I believe that by working my way up from a teacher to an administrator and eventually to a board

director will give me the experience and knowledge needed to create a better education system.

The four courses in the school leadership specialization have helped me grow as a person.

I am stronger and more open minded than I was before the courses. I have confidence that I will

be a good leader in the future. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I am willing to do everything

within my power to continue to learn. This is my last course and I have gained a lot of

knowledge that I hope to share with others.



Anderson, A. R. (2012). Success will come and go, but integrity is forever. Retrieved from http://


Baer, D. & Feloni, R. (2016). 15 teddy roosevelt quotes on courage, leadership, and success.

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Campbell, E. (2000). Professional Ethics in Teaching: towards the development of a code of

practice. Cambridge Journal Of Education, 30(2), 203-221. doi:

Gopal, T. V. (2007). Ethics in deploying data to make wish decisions. Retrieved from http://

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2014). NAEYC code of ethical

conduct and statement of commitment. Retrieved from

file positions/PSETH05.pdf

Shapiro, J. P. & Stefkovich, J. (2011). Ethical leadership and decision making in education:

Applying theoretical perspectives to complex dilemmas (3rd ed.). New York, NY:


United States Air Force Core Values. (1997). The little blue book. Retrieved from http://www.e-

Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, T., S. J., & Meyer, M. J. (1990). Justice and fairness.

Retrieved from


Walker, P. & Lovat, T. (2014). You say morals, I say ethics - what's the difference? Retrieved


Welsh, I. (2015). Ethics 101: The difference between ethics and morals. Retrieved from http://