The Teaching and Learning of Ethics


With the rising attention that is being accorded to ethical values both in research studies and specialized practice, there is a need to comprehend the way that such moral principles are attained. There is often the assumption that learners will easily realize necessary obligations as they continue with their studies, but this is not the case (Barnfield, 2017, p. 197). Students require adequate guidance in ethical principles, especially regarding codes and necessities. In line with the Tri-Council code of ethics that is currently obligatory for all research practices at the university level that employ human participants, comprehension of moral guidelines is now a stipulation rather than just being good. Even as instructions concerning ethics occur, there are deficient courses in ethical principles, and only a few are concerned with research integrity. It appears that details on ethics are superficially handled in a single lesson or two at the commencement of some courses. Learners are thereby left with minimal comprehension of actual ethical guidelines and the requirement for moral regulations, and usually question the significance of the Research Ethics Board or Student Research Ethics Review Panel. There is a need for learners to be empowered to grasp and value both the abstract and detailed required ideologies.

Although learning institutions have the obligation of ensuring that students comprehend ethics and moral principles, discussions of ethical concerns often concentrate on learners’ wrongdoing, for example, plagiarism in research works. There is a great deficiency when it comes to teaching to induce the comprehension of ethical guidelines and the inevitability of such values. Students should learn concerning ethical conduct and understand the reasons behind matters such as misrepresentation and fabrication of information being unethical (Barnfield, 2017, p. 198). This is not just crucial in undergraduate studies but also attributable to learners being a population from which future researchers and health professionals ascend. Students should wholly appreciate why given conduct is deemed unethical even before they practically undertake research studies and submit their work for publication or take part in professional engagements in fields such as medical and psychological sciences. Being told to speak before the entire class may be overwhelming for students, and the need to explain ethical values or validate a position might be intricate if not done excellently. With a small group structure, learners have the chance to deliberate ideas and generate thoughts in a more relaxed setting prior to making elucidations to the entire class.

A proper comprehension of ethics over and above moral conduct is anticipated by learners, researchers, scientists, and professional practices as official ethical guidelines outline prospects of behaviour. This affirms that there is a great need to increase direct instruction provided to students on ethical principles. Enhancement of instruction will play a vital role in the facilitation of not only factual knowledge but also the expansion of true comprehension of ethical principles. Such developments necessitate a conscious aspect of courses at institutions of higher learning, in addition to engaged and steered discussions that form a considerable facet of generating sensitivity and comprehension of ethics and ethical values (Barnfield, 2017, p. 201). This is important because students then take such an understanding beyond their daily lives into their future endeavours. Including an active discussion of ethical principles in numerous courses at every phase of learning in universities and colleges will stimulate an attitude of ethics in learners.


The article’s viewpoint on ethics is vital in teaching students concerning aspects that sway ethical conduct because it will arm them with transferable behaviour not only in their future careers but also in their daily lives. In and out of their laboratories and classes, learners face challenging ethical dilemmas. Recent graduates might also have to circumnavigate difficult team dynamics, unaccustomed company cultures, and settings that fail to satisfy the anticipations of their employers. Nevertheless, if all students are suitably taught ethics and ethical principles, they will become employees and employers who will promote proper culture in their companies. This will also have the benefit of enabling them to make quick decisions that will enhance organizational performance. Apart from the obvious gains of strong moral advancement in the place of work, recognition of the necessity to assess the need for learning ethics and ethical principles will promote personal growth.

Relation to Topics in EDF 1005

Similar to the viewpoints in the article, some of the topics in EDF 1005 offer learning on ethical principles that are in line with research integrity and general moral conduct. The big picture in the course prepares learners to examine ethical dimensions in diverse settings and behave ethically regardless of the several factors that influence them otherwise. This brings the realization that most graduate students find it difficult when it comes to ethical principles and integrity in their operations and daily lives. Topics in EDF 1005 are hence essential in the examination and discussion of the situations and ethical guidelines of learners and professionals. The course helps learners to identify attributes of ethical conduct in different facets of life and how they are associated with apposite decision making.


Barnfield, A. (2017). “Did I do good?”: The teaching and learning of ethics. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 10, 197-202. Web.

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