Monday, 9 April 2018

Week 28 - PRACTICE - Influence of Law & Ethics in Practice

Week 28 

Activity 4:Legal and ethical contexts in my digital practice

(What): Cyber bullying has become a very real and concerning issue within schools. Last year at the school I work at, there were some very nasty 'chat sites' being used by students, with one particular year group being the main cause of some very hurtful behavior. This particular year 10 group was very active online, using Instagram, messenger and mainly snap chat to develop communication between selected students. These various 'groups' started excluding chosen students from group chats and forming questions that were focused on judgmental and critical opinion of other students from the same year group and younger year groups. These questions were things like, 'who do you think is the most unattractive?', 'who is most likely to fail the math test? It then become more personal and targeting towards students who were not as 'popular' or 'cool'. We have a large proportion of students who are boarders and this communication became a playing field for judgmental, negative impact on others. This silent bulling also became unseen by the teacher's and unknown to the parents. It was at this time, as a school we were introducing a method to ask students about bulling. The ministry of education had employed ERO to structure a survey for schools to use and gave an outlet for these silent sufferers.
(So What): Today's challenges with bulling online has been a real issue. It has become so detrimental to the well-being of others that an Act has been made here in NZ in 2015, called the 'Harmful Digital Communications Act'. This is taken seriously and a fine of $50,000 can be placed onto the individual causing emotional distress, ( Our school had many assembles that the SLT addressed the school and used both current YouTube videos and criminal data to show the impacts that cyber bulling has had on people. This began to start conversations between students and engaged questions and ideas for each person to reflect on their beliefs and ethics toward online chat sites. As a whole school we then took part in the focus of well-being and out DP spent time delivering this to all junior classes. Students who were behaving badly online were having to face themselves and look at the choices they were making and question wither they could (in ten year time) look back and be proud of that type of online behavior. As a staff we developed outside games to have at lunchtime and set specific days of peer-support. 

(Now What): As a form teacher I was responsible to collect the data from the survey and analyse the outcomes with the other form teachers of both year 9 and year 10. We all had differences of opinions in what we thought was bulling and what was just poor choices of online behavior. Since we are an all girl school, it was very important to clear with the students the difference between bulling and what was teasing. As a teaching body we all needed to look at the whole picture and what consequences were needed to be made for those students who had advocated or been a part of this online nasty communication. Both those who put up the questions and those who accepted the chat groups to observe the nasty communication. As Ehrich suggests each person can bring thier own ethics, and we as teachers needed to be very clear what was serious and bring this attention to the Dean and the Senior Leadership Team. These 'forces' that Cranston, N., Ehrich, L. & Kimber, M. suggest, can impact and become very challenging to what the outcome will entail. Implications can be placed on one individual or even a whole community and that is why a whole picture is needed to be looked at and clear processes to take place for a bigger picture to be formed. The cyber bulling stopped, as the voices were heard in the ominousness surveys. Students were given opportunity to name the person who was making it difficult for them at school and this gave the management teams good reason to develop more positive methods of collaboration within school. The zero tolerance of the bulling, (Kia Kaha), meant some students were able to have a voice and be supported with their peer groups and chosen teaching staff members. Other students that were doing the bulling, or supported the online chats, were not able to have the same privileges with online access and devices were taken and history was looked at. This was all done with the support from our boarding staff, school Councillor and parent body. 
relationships and character – to identifying and resolving the dilemma at hand.Each of these individuals will bring their own personal ethics
– whether that be an emphasis on consequences, reference to rules, or a focus on
relationships and character – to identifying and resolving the dilemma at hand. Each of these individuals will bring their own personal ethics
– whether that be an emphasis on consequences, reference to rules, or a focus on
relationships and character – to identifying and resolving the dilemma at han

Ehrich, L. C. , Kimber M., Millwater, J. & Cranston, N. (2011). Ethical dilemmas: a model to understand teacher practice, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 17:2, 173-185, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2011.539794

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