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Ethical Decision Making In

Education: Utilizing The


Ways of Knowing through
the Realms of Meaning
William Allan Kritsonis,
PhD
Professor of Educational Leadership
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Ways of Knowing through the Realms of


Meaning

The six realms cover the range of possible


meanings that comprise the basic competencies
that general education should develop in every
person. A complete person should be skilled in
the use of speech, symbol, and gesture
(Symbolics), factually well informed (Empirics),
capable of creating and appreciating objects of
esthetic significance (Esthetics), endowed with
a rich and disciplined life in relation to self and
others (Synnoetics), able to make wise
decisions and to judge between right and wrong
(Ethics), and possessed an integal outlook
(Synoptics). These are the aims of general
education for the development of whole
persons. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 15)

Caring/Kindness
Tolerance
Citizenship
Initiative
Cooperation
Courage
Dependability/Reliability
Respect
Perseverance
Responsibility
Trust

Generosity
Confidence
Loyalty
Patience
Fairness
Honesty
Love
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Responsibility
The Realm of ethics is concerned
with active personal commitment
(Kritsonis, 2007).
Responsibility entails:
Dependability
Initiative
Assertiveness
Self-Confidence
Desire to Excel

Trust

Trust is building confidence through


teamwork and open communication.

Trust facilitates cooperation and promotes


cohesiveness.

Trust is built by behavior that is


considerate, supportive, and collegial.

Trust is like air; no one thinks much about


it until it is needed and is not there (Hoy &
Miskel, 2005).
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Professional Development

One who reads widely, attend workshops


and conferences, member of professional
associations, consult with colleagues, selfreflection.

Synnoetics: Ongoing commitment towards


human association with concern as well as
seeking the well-being of others.

Searching for insight and training into


educational issues.
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Effective Interpersonal
Skills
Develops strong binding interpersonal skills

with students, parents and colleagues= trust


between all members. (Kritsonis, 2007)

Symbolics: Symbolizes a way for individuals


to experience meaning through
communication.

Effective communication derives from the


principle that language is a source of power
expressing various experiences of each
individual.
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Environment of Care

Responsibility of educators to build care


and compassion with the community.
(Kritsonis, 2007)

Synoptics: A school environment of care


values all members individual feelings and
emotions into one synopsis or single vision.

Educators have to make a conscious


decision to study our past mistakes, care for
others, at the same time accommodate to
the needs of the organization and the
community.
8

Protect the Rights of


Stakeholders

Educators have a responsibility to protect


and respect students individuality and
acknowledge their right to make choices for
themselves. (Kritsonis, 2007)

Ethics: These beliefs and choices of what is


right and wrong lay the foundation for our
civilization and culture.

In order to demonstrate a sincere respect


for each students self-worth, educators
need to listen to students and consider
their views.
9

Self-Evaluation

In order to self-reflect, choices can be


determined to be good or bad, better or worse,
depending on how caring is demonstrated from
all members.
(Kritsonis, 2007)

Ethics: Belief that everyone has the logic to


make the right choices and decisions, and if one
fails, he/she gains a sense of guilt form within
him/herself.

School communitys policies cannot be ethical,


only individuals can make decisions that take
into consideration the policies that apply to a
certain situation or circumstance. (Kritsonis,
2007)
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Ethical Decision Making to


Improve Academic
Achievement

Appropriate Scope of Study

Maximize Meanings Through Mastery

Curriculum Should be Broad and Diverse

Curriculum Should Provide Meaning

Attain Mastery
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Appropriate Scope of
Study

According to Kritsonis (2007):

The scope of study should include unique


personality of the student, social and
cultural context, and available resources.

Requires careful planning and ethical


decision making.

High standards students are expected


to reach a predetermined bar.

Implement creativity and individuality.


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Maximize Meanings
Through Mastery

Fulfillment lies within mastery and the


depth of understanding.

Curriculum should be relevant to all.

Ultimate goal should be intensity of


knowledge.

13

Curriculum Should be
Broad and Diverse

Students should gain an understanding in a


variety of fields.

Competence should be gained in a number


of different activities.

Use connection between culture,


curriculum, home, and school to promote
academic achievement.

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Attaining Mastery
The following elements are needed in
helping students reach their mastery goal:
A

healthy, safe learning environment.

Encouraging

and caring environment.

High

standards of academic
achievement.

Focus

on students individual needs.


(ONeal, 2004)
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Why Should School


Communities have Codes
of Ethics?
Promote honorable behavior.
Provide a basis for ethical behavior.
Ensure effective operation.
Morally ethical decisions.
Ethics is Everybodys Business. (Kritsonis,
2007)
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Confidentiality and
Integrity
Educators should not disclose confidential

information unless obligated to do so by law.

Educators should not use confidential


information for advantageous gain.

Educators should avoid activities which could


impede performance of job duties in an ethical
manner.

Educators should refuse gifts, favors, or

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hospitality that would influence or would appear

Professional Certification
Educators should

Maintain a level of competence.


Seek knowledge.
Develop and improve skills.
Perform duties in accordance with laws, rules,
and regulations.

Prepare appropriately.
Use only relevant and reliable information.
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Financial Fraud
Funds must be used appropriately and for intended
purposes.

A system should be in place to ensure

financial

honesty.

Someone not directly related to the organization

should assist in the monitoring financial spending.

Rules, regulations, and consequences must be in


place that are not negotiable. (Martin, 2004)

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What are the


consequences of showing
unjustified favoritism
within and educational
organization?

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Creates disenchantment and dissension

among members and supporters.

Informal Groups are created which results in

a negative and unproductive climate.

Leaders are not supported or trusted.


There should be acknowledged moral leaders,

to whom many look for moral direction,


guidance and inspiration. (Kritsonis, 2007)

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References
Hoy, W. K., & Miskel, C. G. (2005). Educational administration. New
York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Kritsonis, W. A. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of
meaning. Oxford, England: Oxford Round Table.
Martin, J. (2004, December). The relationship between principals,
ethics, and campus ratings. Retrieved from
http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.tamu.edu
ONeal, S. (2004). Individualized instruction for improved student
achievement educations holy grail. The Journal. Retrieved from
http://thejournal.com/the/printarticle/?id=16635

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