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Teaching and Learning

Graduate Attribute 3: Ethical Practice

Overview

Ethical practice is defined as "a commitment to sustainability and high ethical standards in social and professional practices (SCU Graduate Attribute 3)."

Ethical practice is a key component of professionalism and needs to be instilled in curricula across courses. When operating ethically, graduates are aware that we live in a diverse society with many competing points of view. Ethical behaviour involves tolerance and responsibility. It includes being open-minded about cultural diversity, linguistic difference, and the complex nature of our world. It also means behaving appropriately towards colleagues and the community, and being sensitive to local and global social justice issues. One of the keys skills is to listen well and to be thoughtful and respectful in action.

Strategies and Approaches

An example of incorporating ethical practice into teaching is found in a first year unit in the Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree. A math assignment is designed to remind student teachers that everyone learns in different ways and there is likely to be a mixed cohort of learners in the primary classroom. The student teacher must identify and cater for the mathematical needs of diverse students in an informed and ethical way. To achieve this objective, the student teacher is asked to identify three student groups in their class that constitute diversity and then consider teaching strategies to promote their engagement. For this assignment the student teacher must produce a discussion paper which is then shared with their peers. The assessment activity promotes engagement, an awareness of diversity, shared learning, and promotion of ethical practice.

The table below highlights how this Graduate Attribute relates to unit learning outcomes, and demonstrates relevant learning strategies.

Learning Outcome and Ethical Practice (GA3)Assessment Task Examples

Learning Outcome: examine the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of marketing and demonstrate a capacity to question these

Marketing plan presented as a group Wiki:

  • Demonstrate commitment to sustainability throughout plan

Learning Outcome: analyse clinical diagnostic and laboratory results with which to form diagnostic and care plans in clinical settings

Closed book exam:

  • The exam will be divided between case study based short-answer questions and multiple choice questions.

Further Reading

There have been several projects investigating graduate attributes, their integration and applicability in university curricula and teaching practice.

ProjectResource

Understanding academic staff beliefs about graduate attributes project (B Factor) 2009

This study found that staff acknowledged the importance of Graduate Attributes but had a lack of confidence about how to integrate them into teaching practice in a meaningful way.

Increasing institutional success in the integration and assessment of graduate attributes across the disciplines by identifying academic staff beliefs about graduate attributes

The National Graduate Attributes Project (GAP) 2009

This project reported on the critical role of academic understanding of graduate attributes, and how this is essential to effective incorporation.

Integration and assessment of graduate attributes in curriculum

A National Teaching Fellowship on Assuring Graduate Capabilities: Evidencing levels of achievement for graduate employability fellowship 2011

This fellowship, led by Bev Oliver, looked at capabilities (attributes) and developed a range of resources to ensure graduate capability. This was followed by Good practice Report: Assuring Graduate Outcomes (2011).

Assuring Graduate Capabilities