Jagadeeswari1 and K.Poornima2 1 PhD Research Scholar, HindustanArts and Science College, Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore 2 PhD Research Scholar, HindustanArts and Science College, Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore AbstractResearchethics involve requirements on daily work, the protection of dignity ofsubjects and the publication of the information in the research. However, whenteacher participate in research they have to cope with three value systems;society; teaching and science which may be in conflict with the values ofsubjects, communities, and societies and create tensions and dilemmas inteaching. After a short description of the nature of teaching, and the advocacyrole of teachers, the writer will attempt to highlight the possible conflictsthat teachers have to deal with, when undertaking or participating in research.The major ethical issues in conducting research are: a) Informed consent, b)Beneficence- Do not harm c) Respect for anonymity and confidentiality d)Respect for privacy. However, both the nature of teaching which focuses oncaring, preventing harm and protecting dignity and the advocates role ofteachers which calls for defending the rights of subjects, are sometimesincongruent with the ethics in research.
Ethical issues, conflicting values,and ambiguity in decision making, are recurrently emerging from literaturereview on teaching research. Because of lack of clarity in ethical standards,teachers must develop an awareness of these issues and an effective frameworkto deal with problems involving human rights.Keywords:Research ethics, dilemmas in research, nature of teaching, teaching research, teachingadvocacyIIntroductionResearchersin humanities also encounter the challenges of representing with scrupulousaccuracy the scholarship of their colleagues, whether that scholarship isconsistent or inconsistent with their own work.
All parties must avoidunacknowledged adoption of the words and ideas of others, however slight orunintended, and refrain from exploiting the work of collaborators, especiallystudents. As Ortega (2005) has argued, there are also powerful ethicalconsequences in the choice of what population ones studies as representative ofL2 learners, and in how accessible research findings are made to teachers andpolicy makers. These are genuine and serious ethical responsibilities, if onlyrarely the stuff of high drama. They are also not unique to scholars of teachingprofessional. Rather, garden-variety ethical decision-making enters intoscholarship on English in ways that largely conform to how it infusesscholarship in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. However,even insofar as second language research appears to be at low risk for ethicalcatastrophe, and even insofar as those ethical issues that do emerge are mostlyones familiar to other disciplines, it is still worth surveying themoral-philosophical landscape of the field.
This review article firstsummarizes existing discussion of ethics in second language teaching, andsurveys ethical guidelines and codes relevant to second language teachingresearch. It then introduces new materials available to scholars who would liketo develop their sensitivity to ethical issues. I employ these new materials tospeculate about how a sharpened ethical consciousness might raise new questionsabout familiar research and find value in research that has generally goneunappreciated.
IIResearch ethics in second language TeachingNotmuch has been published specifically on ethical issues in second languageresearch. Some neighboring fields, however, have amassed extensive literatureson ethics. These fields include language testing; language pedagogy, especiallyteaching English as a second language; critical linguistics; and the superordinate discipline of applied linguistics. The concern with ethics exhibitedby scholars in these areas has taken varied forms and addressed various issues.Following a symposium on ethics at the 1996 meeting of the AssociationInternationale de Linguistique Appliquée, Alan Davies guest edited an issue ofthe journal Language Testing. The issue is comprised of ten papers that explorethe ethical dimensions of language teaching, including teaching atmoshphere,content, validity, test ‘backwash’, and the social and political roles thatlanguage tests play (Davies, 1997).
Like language testers, language teachers(especially teachers of English as a second language) have a fairly developedtradition of reflection on professionalethics. For example, Silva (1997) discussed what counts as adequate academicsupport for english learners, and Dufon (1993) called on the field to expandthe scope of what it recognizes as its ethical responsibilities. The paperscollected by Hafernik, Messerchmitt, and Vandrick (2002) explore a wide rangeof situations where ESL teachers face ethical choices. The book addressesnitty-gritty matters such as classroom management dilemmas, student giftgiving, and responding to plagiarism. It also discusses matters where anindividual teacher’s actions may have less immediate but potentially morepervasive consequences, such as in the construction of equitable relations withcolleagues and with educational institutions, and in the responsibility ateacher assumes (or not) for the effects of the spread of English world-wide.Anotherstream of work that is characteristically highly self-conscious about ethicalmatters is ‘critical linguistics’, sometimes called ‘critical appliedlinguistics’ (Rajagopalan, 2004; Davies and Elder 2004: 9–10). Criticallinguistics examines specific practices and assumptions about language thatsustain an uneven distribution of social or economic power.
Cameron, Frazer,Harvey, Rampton, and Richardson (1992) present case studies of research ondialectology, bilingualism, gender, and race in the vein of criticallinguistics. They model how scholars can establish relationships with peoplewhose language they are studying, relationships that go beyond passivecollection of data. Cameron et al.
urge researchers to assume, as part of theethical burden of doing research, the responsibility of helping empower peopleto resist social and economic inequity. In these ways, language testing, TESOL,and critical linguistics may have the liveliest traditions of reflection onethical issues. There are also other sub-fields within applied linguisticswhere ethics is the topic of at least occasional discussion. For a specialissue of Issues in Applied Linguistics, Carolyn Temple Adger and Jeff Connor Linton(1993) collected essays on ethics across a range of applied-linguisticconcerns.
Each essay narrates an applied linguist’s actual experiencesgrappling with ethical matters, with contributions from forensic linguistics,language testing, speech-language pathology, social dialectology, computationallinguistics, and conversational analysis.Comparinglinguistics to the disciplines of anthropology and sociology, Newman andRatliff (2001: 9) remark on how little awareness the former exhibits of ethicalmatters. SLA seems to share this orientation with linguistics in general.Ortega (2005: 429) attributes the absence of ethical self-awareness in Englishteach research to an ‘illusion that somehow neutrality is inherent in theconcerns of the field’. She counters this stance by asserting, in concert withmost of modern philosophy of science, that ‘value-free research is impossible'(p.
432).IIIGuidelines and codes of ethics in research on English Teaching methodsThecontrast between the sparse attention paid to ethical issues within secondlanguage, and the relatively high ethical self-consciousness of appliedlinguistics, is reflected in the production of professional guidelines or codesof ethics. Several organizations of applied linguists have disseminatedstatements that define adequate and inadequate ethical practices. On itswebsite, the International Language Testing Association has posted a nine-pointCode of Ethics for professional language testers, largely taken up withexplication of abstract principles like ‘Language testers shall have respectfor the humanity and dignity of each of their test takers’, and ‘Languagetesters shall share the responsibility for upholding the integrity of thelanguage testing profession’ (ILTA, 2000). In addition, the ILTA hasestablished a Code of Practice that specifies the rights and responsibilitiesof test designers, administrators, takers, and those who interpret testresults, all worked out in fine detail (ILTA, 2005). Boyd and Davies (2002)argue that language testers need both such a profession-wide code of ethics,and context-specific codes of practice tailored to the different social andcultural niches where language testing takes place; each code of practiceconstitutes a ‘local gloss on the universalist principles’ (p. 312) that a codeof ethics supplies. Abroader and more ambitious attempt to define ethical standards has beenundertaken by the British Association for Applied Linguistics.
In 1994 BAALreleased a text, now accessible online, entitled ‘Recommendations on GoodPractice in Applied Linguistics’ (BAAL, 2006), through which the organizationaimed to ‘provide guidance for its membership on relations with the widercommunity, and the ethical conduct of their own applied linguistics research'(BAAL, 1997: 14). The BAAL Recommendations comprise 17 painstakingly-groomedpages of guidelines for professional practice, framed as definitions of theresponsibilities of applied linguists in various domains: responsibilities toinformants; to colleagues; to students; to the field of applied linguistics; tothe public. In addition, there is advice and commentary on the ethicaldimensions of the relationships applied linguists form with their own research,with sponsors, and with their home institutions.TheBAAL Recommendations are presented as an outline comprised of numbered entries,with detailed matters expanded as bulleted sub points. In an unusual step, theAssociation has also posted a much shorter second version of theirRecommendations addressed to students, entitled ‘Recommendations on goodpractice in Applied Linguistics student projects’ (BAAL, 2000). This comprisesa lucid, minimally elaborated, six-point text that reminds students of the coreresponsibilities they bear in working with informants.
For example, the BAALdocument advises student’s pointblank to avoid deceptive or covert research,while conceding the acceptability of distraction. In summary, there exists aprecedent for reflection and debate about ethics in disciplines that neighborthe study of second language learners, played out in conference proceedings,journal articles, and freestanding books. There also exist models ofcarefully-wrought professional codes and explicit standards of practice thataddress, at various levels of resolution, issues that bear on some of theconcerns of scholars of second language learners. IVConclusionAsBaggini and Fosl emphasize, we do not have a ‘single, complete ethical theorythat answers all the relevant moral questions’ (2007: xvi)—nor even one thatwill help us decide what counts as a relevant moral question. Therefore itwould not be surprising if some of the examples discussed in this reviewarticle do not appear to readers to constitute genuine ethical problems.
Kimmel(2007: 5–6), in fact, tries to help readers figure out how to identify anethical problem—although of course that act of identification is itself anexercise of ethical decision-making. Howsoever one recognizes what counts as anethical issue; the capacity to consider ethical issues carefully is worthdeveloping. This is true even in second language learning research, whereethical choices typically carry lighter burdens than in some other professionaland academic fields.Ethicalissues, conflicting values, and ambiguity in decision making, are recurrentlyemerging from literature review on teaching research.
Because of lack ofclarity in ethical standards, teachers must develop an awareness of theseissues and an effective framework to deal with problems involving human rights.This is necessary in order to come into terms with the issue of the researcher’svalues relative to the individual’s rights versus the interests of society.Professional codes, laws, regulations, and ethics committees can provide someguidance but the final determinant of how research is performed, rests with theresearcher’s value system and moral code. To prepare future teachers, ethics inresearch, must receive special attention in teaching curricula. The criticismand uncertainties that arise should be rather encouraged than suppressed in teachingeducation. Hunt suggests that in order to liberate teaching from its”technocratic impasse” ethics should be broadly interpreted as anarena of new ideas which can change professional hierarchies, to opencross-disciplinary discussions.
He also declares that teaching, not as a biomedicalbranch, but as a science and art of caring, is able to start the redefinitionof research in teaching methods which was in the recent history dominated bythe social media and electronic “paradigm”.ReferencesAdger, C. T., andConnor-Linton, J. 1993.
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