保护教室氛围(The Elements of Teaching 精读5.1)

A CHARACTER in an otherwise deservedly forgotten play by a Nazi playwright was made to remark that he had a revolver at the ready whenever he heard the word culture. Some are similarly inclined to draw a weapon when invited to think about ethics. The term suggests at once something old-fashioned, straitlaced, and priggish. It conjures up thoughts of a moral police, censorship, pompous rectitude, sanctimonious hypocrisy-all that is the enemy of a jealous regard for our own rights and freedom of action. Yet rightly understood, ethics implies none of these things. It has instead to do with what seems to be the natural human consideration of our moral duties and behavior toward others in a complex and imperfect world.

In teaching, ethics means putting the satisfaction of the needs and good of students before those of anyone else. This has to be so not simply because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is the surest road to students' trust and understanding and therefore the best way to ensure that they learn.

Teaching thus requires student-centered ethics. If the good of our students is not the focus of our attention, they cannot be taught, and they are unlikely to learn. For teaching is a fiduciary act. Teachers hold students' welfare in trust for the students' parents, for their larger communities, and, above all, for the students themselves. Teachers are called upon to create and secure each student's greatest good by encouraging the development of individual knowledge and understanding. This responsibility of trusteeship imbues teaching with its profound ethical significance and makes teachers not simply transmitters of knowledge but exemplars and guardians of behavior and values as well. Therefore, because the end of teaching must be the good of students, not that of teachers, the focus of teaching is quite the opposite of individualism and self-regard.The true language of teaching is that of responsibility, not rights. Teaching seeks the well-being of students, not of teachers, who must be prepared to give up something toward that end.

Of course, true self-denial comes to few of us, nor are teachers obliged to ignore themselves, their families, friends, or neighbors to devote themselves exclusively to their students. Yet in taking on the functions of teachers, they take on the duties of trusteeship. And when it comes to the trusteeship of students, especially of young ones, those responsibilities can be exacting. To fail to shoulder those responsibilities-or to fail at least to try to do so-means in effect to be not a teacher but someone who merely offers information. One of the truest tests of teachers is whether or not they welcome and bear well the ethical obligations of their work.

Like compassion and imagination, therefore, the ethical components of teaching require teachers to put themselves in their students' places, to imagine the confusions of their students and their desires to be guided toward their own good. Teachers must recall their own earlier vulnerabilities to influence, their own difficulties in learning, and their own anxieties about acceptance and popularity.

So, too, the ethics of teaching is intimately linked to the authority that teachers exercise over their students. The classroom is and must be a protected place, where students discover themselves and gain knowledge of the world, where they are free of all threats to their well-being, where all received opinion is open to evaluation, where all questions are legitimate, where the explicit goal is to see the world more openly, fully, and deeply. Teachers are therefore obliged to create and preserve an ethical climate in the classroom.

But what does it mean to be ethical in teaching?

The first rule of ethical teaching is to do no harm to students. This is not merely, in the spirit of Hippocrates' admonition to doctors, a negative injunction. Instead, it implies teachers' obligation to protect students actively from threats to their welfare arising from such appealing blandishments as popularity or peer pressure. Students' sense of self and image is easily injured by embarrassment or punishment that appears excessive, or by teachers' abuse of their authority, and this is as much the case with older as with younger students. The abuse of authority, which can take many forms, such as prejudice, favoritism, and intimacy, is especially threatening to students' welfare.

Intimacy, for example, even when it oversteps the boundaries of friendship, particularly with older students, is often said to be legitimate because it is the right of consenting adults. Such claims overlook the clear moral and professional conflicts between teachers' desires and students' good that are caused by intimacy when one intimate is called upon to evaluate objectively the performance of the other. This is to say nothing of the comparative disadvantages any intimacy may cause to those students who do not share it or are not its object. But the most serious consequence of such a breach of teachers' professional ethics is the injury it does to the trust the student has reposed in the teacher to be protector and exemplar as well as instructor. Therefore, while teachers never surrender their own legal or moral rights when they teach, in teaching others, especially the young, they take upon themselves antecedent responsibilities, akin to the responsibilities of parents for their children.

Ethical teaching requires exclusive attention to students' welfare. This may be teachers' most difficult responsibility, placing them sometimes in conflict with their own needs, hopes, and desires, as well as their obligations to others. After all, teachers are not expected to be totally selfless and to give up everything for their students. Yet the moral requirements of teaching exact from teachers an unusual degree of sacrifice, of extension of self, toward others-gifts of energy and time, and often the sacrifice of personal interest, for the benefit of their students. They are, after all, teachers' dependents, and they rely on their instructors for knowledge, guidance, and protection. Teachers are therefore obliged, as professionals, to defend their students' interests-among the chief of which is a search for the truth against intrusion, sometimes even against school and community authorities who have it in their power to endanger teachers' employment.

Teachers also must not involve students in their own professional conflicts or allow their own actions-protracted labor strikes, for example, or participation in campus demonstrations -to affect their obligation to their students, which is to lead them to learn. Teachers must always be engaged in envisaging for their students, and helping their students envisage for themselves, what is best for them.

1.Ethical teaching means setting high standards and expectations and inspiring students to meet them. Many students resist and resent challenges, and sometimes parents and communities are unsympathetic to standards that ask students to surpass themselves. But is it not the responsibility of teachers to inspire their students to stretch and thus to grow in knowledge and understanding- or, as one beloved teacher used to insist in one of the injunctions she would write on the blackboard each day, to "2.choose a high failure rather than a low success"? Like all true professionals,3. teachers are expected to act in their students' behalf even if the students resist taking their advice. They have to lead their students to set their own high expectations, to imagine what they may achieve, and to aspire to achieve it.
3.老师要为学生考虑,即使学生拒绝老师的建议。(呵呵哒,老师就是这样一个经常不讨喜的角色,你苦口婆心,学生拒绝反感。还是要把握好一个度,尽力做到用不反感的语气给出真诚的建议。我的看法是,try to be cool. If you were cool in studnets' eyes, they would consider your suggestion.)

Anya Lu

Anya Lu