The team of the RÉCIT national service, personal development domain (RÉCIT DP) has developed a 5-step process to co-construct a code of ethics with the students. We present it to you.
Although there were already rules of life in the school and in the classroom, distance education has led several teachers to reflect more specifically on the management of their students' behavior. Benoît Petit and Marie-Soleil Caroll, advisers at RÉCIT DP, presented the workshop 5 tips for building a code of ethics as part of the last AQUOPS conference.
The development of a code of ethics for the classroom is an interesting avenue, all the more so if the pupils are involved in the process. This approach is useful for going beyond the simple management of piecemeal behaviors and it makes students feel more engaged in maintaining a climate conducive to classroom learning.
Young people are already used to having implicit codes of conduct among themselves, whether online or offline. Their contribution to the process of developing the class code of ethics should not be underestimated.
5 steps to follow
1- Get students involved from the start of the year
While it is never too late to do well, it may be appropriate to have the code of ethics in place at the start of the school year.
Before starting the process, think about the posture to adopt. This is not about showing authority in order to maintain order in your classroom. Rather, it is about promoting the well-being and sense of security of students, while developing their sense of responsibility.
2- Reflect on the meaning of the rules
It is possible to get the pupils to think about the need to put in place rules. In doing so, we get them to develop their critical thinking and their ethical sense, we engage them more in the process.
3- Aim for the development of concrete rules
When setting up rules, we often tend to name what is prohibited rather than what is allowed or desired. As part of this process, it is preferable to force the note so that the expected behaviors are explicitly named. This way, you leave less room for ambiguous interpretations that might arise later.
Always keep in mind that if students are involved in making the rules, they will be more likely to obey them and even encourage their classmates to do so.
4- Think about how to apply a rule
Despite the good intentions at the start, it can happen that misconduct occurs during the year. The consequences should also be considered and discussed in advance. They must be consistent and proportional, depending on the actions committed.
“You may be surprised at the results,” notes Benoît Petit. He even points out that young people can tend to be more severe than adults in certain situations. We must then get them to explain their reasoning in this sense.
5- Keep in mind that the rules are flexible
The code of ethics must become a reference for the class, but it must leave room for a certain flexibility in behavior.
The quality of the rules must take precedence over their quantity. It is better to have a few well defined and stick to them as much as possible. Also, keep in mind that the code can always be revisited in the light of certain lived experiences.
Need a guide to lead the reflection?
The RÉCIT DP team proposes strategies to facilitate discussions and ensure that the process of developing the code of ethics goes as smoothly as possible. Meeting on www.citnum.ca/cinq-conseils or consult the full presentation.
Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
1- Act as an ethical citizen in the digital age
To see the Framework.