Moral dilemmas in early childhood settings: Turkish teachers' accounts
The purpose of this dissertation is to understand the nature of the moral dilemmas that Turkish early childhood teachers encounter in their professional lives. Dealing with dilemmas is a part of teachers’ professional lives and most dilemmas they encounter are moral in nature. They are expected to consider many private and public concerns related to professional, personal, organizational and societal values while they are doing their job. Teachers’ self-accounts on moral dilemmas in their school life reflect their understanding of morality in their professions. Since teachers’ lives are full of encounters with moral significance, uncovering teachers’ perceptions of the moral dimensions of teaching is of value.
This study took place in Ankara, Turkey. Fifteen experienced and eleven inexperienced teachers were interviewed to learn the dilemmas they had encountered, why they thought the dilemma was a moral one, the solution strategies they had employed, and the reasons behind choosing a particular solution strategy over other strategies.
The results indicate that the dilemmas took place between teachers and students or parents or administrators and among teachers. While the dilemmas between teachers and students reflect teachers’ caring feelings and thoughts, the dilemmas between teachers and parents and administrators were reflections of power struggles between involved parties. The data show that while twelve of the teachers utilized solution strategies based on their own moral beliefs and values, twelve of them were pragmatists who considered practical consequences of the possible action strategies and chose the one that was the most convenient and, usually, easy. Two of the teachers could not find any solution for their dilemmas. The research findings indicate that teachers are needed to be empowered by necessary communication skills and moral background to deal with moral dilemmas they encounter in their professional lives.
0727: Curriculum development