This text is about helping teachers think carefully and knowledgeably about ethics in teaching, and to encourage them to talk to other people about it. Each chapter in the body of this text is organized around a pair of basic ethical concepts: freedom and discipline, self and others, communities near and far, excellence and equality, unity and diversity, and faith and truth. Each of these chapters begins with a realistic case, which provide a vehicle for students to see how the concepts come up in concrete situations. Following each chapter case are two essays by two different contributing writers who put themselves in the position of deciding how to approach the case. The idea is for them to model ethical judgment and to give students a glimpse into how thoughtful people may agree or disagree on the same case. The writers continue to respond to each other's reactions throughout the chapter, in order to show how constructive criticism of other people's viewpoints and the ability to provide feedback can help people learn from each other in a civil manner. Instructors who use this book can use these essays as models for students' written and oral activities.
The discussion section in each chapter points out some of the main ideas in the essays, identifies some of the principal philosophical perspectives at work, suggests what might be concluded about the case, and also shows how the debate about the case might need to continue. Each chapter also has numerous references that instructors and students can use to identify sources for additional reading. There is also a chapter containing additional circumstances and cases which instructors and students can use for further discussion. The additional circumstances are suggestions for changing some of the details of chapter cases; the additional case studies are different from the cases in the chapters. These are opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to new situations. This text presents a wider range of theoretical perspectives than its competitors, while offering actual exchanges of viewpoints between informed educators. The discussion is more philosophically sophisticated, and encourages students to think critically and to incorporate theory into actual judgment.
It aims to show the importance, as well as the limitations, of making judgment a cooperative activity among people.