Ethics and Equity of Signature Pedagogies

Abstract:
Eight signature pedagogies of praxis teacher education have been identified around which programs can be designed and implemented and by which pre-service teachers can investigate the realities of teaching and learning. Given that the signature pedagogies are based on practice, partnership and praxis they, in total, constitute a framework of ethical conduct. This approach draws on Greek philosophy and the concept of virtue ethics, concerned with what is right and to live according to what is appropriate for specific circumstances. Practical or prudent reasoning enables character to be built from personal action and the judgement to act in accord with what is considered to be right. Over long periods of time, the result of human action is agreement around a set of excellences that enable a life well lived particularly for the public good. Education and teacher education conducted in this way, around praxis and autonomous action, allows meaning to emerge from social acts and reflection on outcomes. This process is socially and educationally equitable because it respects and values background culture and understandings of all participants and considers all views as they are constructed as valid for those involved. Community reflection and critique on viewpoints enables more generalised thinking to be appreciated, not only in regards other immediate participants but in relation to past experience and the literature as well. Praxis teacher education arranged around the signature pedagogies is therefore, of itself, ethical and equitable in intent and immerses all participants in processes of this type, rather than teaching about them somewhat remotely and abstractly. Discussions with pre-service teachers and with university staff indicate preliminary awareness that the signature pedagogies assemble a framework of ‘practical wisdom and judgement’ such that all participants are placed in the position of acting for the social and educational good. This is fundamentally and philosophically different to merely being expected to passively reproduce existing knowledge and practices.

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