Education Ethics Blog

The blog is a place to discuss ethical dilemmas , values and principles encountered in educational workplaces and in news stories about education. The story could be something that  happened in your office or classroom, something you have heard of through education research, something currently in the news, something affecting one or two people or affecting a whole country.

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Last modified: 8 September 2015


Maths rock stars

Competition – it makes learning fun but does this work for everyone? Watch this video and see the Maths rock stars being made. Is it the bling and the music or the competition that is motivating these students.


What students found best on their course

These links will take you to audio files where students give feedback on their courses

Hear from the hairdressing teacher who liked Feeling comfortable  on the course

A Motor Mechanics teacher talks about finding the One to One sessions the most important part of the course

A teacher has to be a model of good practice because your students copy what they see you do as well as learn from what you say.  This reminds me that what you do speaks louder than what you say.


Recording using mobile phones

Mobile in hand At the end of last night’s induction session one person asked me if they could audio record the session with their phone. On the one hand this would improve inclusion as the learner would be able to be reminded of the session content. This is useful for learners who prefer auditory learning  or who have difficulties with writing notes quickly for a variety of reasons (e.g. for learners with English as a second language, dyslexia or any disability that affected handwriting). On the other hand the other learners would feel constrained or embarrassed in discussions. This would conflict with our ground rule of confidentiality and Recorded information like this would be covered by Data Protection Legislation and we would have to get signed waiver forms from every one present. What would you do in this case?


How old is too old to teach?


Bay tree

 I am constantly amazed at what people say about this. Last week we had two separate inquiries about training courses where people said , “ I don’t know if  I am too old to study”. One man was born in 1961 and one woman was born in 1965. My response was, “I am several years older and still learning and teaching”. The man replied , “Well you don’t sound old”! What does an old person sound like? It’s left me stumped. My neighbour, 83,  just walked past on her way to deliver groceries to ‘elderly’ people.  She doesn’t see herself as old. All that work and life experience, skills and qualifications and yet there are some people at 50 yrs being told that that they’re old.  At our last awards ceremony I invited a friend in his late 60s to play a trumpet fanfare each time a successful student collected a certificate. No one commented on his age but they did say what a brilliant musician he was. We are having another award ceremony for students receiving their PTLLS certificates at the Meridian Centre this week and this time we will have a Bay tree there. Why a Bay tree? Well.. its evergreen, bay leaves are delicious in a stew and they’re just right to crown teaching champions . One of the students receiving a certificate teaches horticulture to women who are brand new to gardening. We have skills, there are people who need to learn. Lets get out there and share them …. I still don’t know what old means though???


Untrained teachers to face the sack

What is best way to make sure that teachers are trained? Is it to sack the untrained teacher as Steven Twigg is suggesting? If the best way to learn to teach is through teaching practice how can teachers learn while they work (on the job).


Case study: Making learning connections or maintaining privacy?

At a college open evening a potential student asked about Italian classes. The college didn’t offer this language but an Italian, part-time teacher colleague of yours overheard the request and told him that she gave private Italian lessons on her days off.  Pleased, he asked for her mobile number which you saw her give him. A few weeks later you met him in the corridor and he told you he was studying for ‘A’ levels in the college now. He still wants to learn Italian but has lost your colleague’s  mobile number and asks you for it. You know the Italian teacher is desperately looking for more work. Should you give him the number?


Case study: Assessing learning or assessing a performance?

A group of students in the drama class at college have been working all term towards a theatre production. The leading player has studied hard and learned her lines well but her acting is wooden. Two weeks before the performance date a new student transferred to the drama class from another course .  She is a natural, confident actor and quick at learning her lines. The performance is next week. You have just heard that there will be a mock inspection of the college on the day of the performance. Who do you choose to play the lead part?


Case study: Specialist help or peer support for dyslexia?


A friend has dyslexia and he is trying to decide which college to go to learn Construction Skills. The big college offers all people with dyslexia a full diagnostic test to check out their needs before starting the college course. This will mean that he has to wait a few months before he can start the course and receive the correct support via a learning support worker. The other college is a small college with no specialist learning support workers but has a store of equipment in regular use e.g.  audio recorders,  computer software to read text for learners and coloured overlays for the computer screen. Some of the teachers and several of the learners on the course have dyslexia themselves. What would you advise him to do? Wait a while and go for the specialist support at the big college or go immediately to the small college and rely on support from the teachers and fellow learners?


What would you include in a Citizenship test?

‘In a couple of weeks aspirant British citizens will be tested on British history for the first time. Since 2004 they’ve been tested on geography, customs and practicalities, on the basis of a book called Life in the United Kingdom, whose third edition was published in late January. Like the previous editions, the book reveals a bit about what the government thinks new citizens need to know, and a lot about how it would like Britain to be known.’

Reference:  The Guardian,


Case study: Is it good to know what will happen next?

Carrie worked as a new assessor in a large adult education college. She was chatting in the staff room to her friend who was also an assessor on a similar course. Carrie said that the internal verifier had emailed her to let her know which pieces of her students’ work she would need to look at when she made her IV visits to the her course.  Carrie  thought this was helpful as she could then make sure that the IV would see her good students’ work  in the best possible light. Carrie’s friend is not sure.

What advice should her friend give Carrie ? As an internal verifier what advice would you give the IV?