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The following articles, arranged randomly, provide various perspectives on how to create a code of ethics primarily. And most also relate either directly or indirectly to other forms of promise (i.e., oaths, pledges, etc.).
Codes of Ethics: Who Needs Them? by Eric Matthews This article explains the rationale for the declaration that the author designed for medical graduates of the University of Aberdeen. He makes an intentional distinction between an "oath," such as that of Hippocrates, and this "declaration."
Procedure for determining schools' and community's standards:
(from "Identifying Community Values," in Taking Responsibility: Standards for Ethical and Responsible Behaviour in Maine Schools and Communities Institute For Global Ethics and Maine Department of Education)
1 . Objectively identify community members. Differences in lifestyles or politics are not a justification for exclusion from this process.
2 . Convene a diverse and representative group of community members to discuss and identify community values and expectations for behavior.
3 . Ask community members to imagine that the task is to choose a certain number of values to be engraved above the main entries of all local schools, as the values the community wants for itself and the schools’ students.
4. As a large group, brainstorm as many values or qualities as possible describing what it means to be a good person. Include everybody’s ideas.
5. Ask each person to write a list of no more than eight values that he or she believes to be the most important. Ideally, these values would be distinct from each other and would represent only those qualities essential to being an ethical human being.
6. Divide into small groups where individuals can share their lists and collectively narrow the choices down to one list of no more than eight values that everyone agrees to.
7. Reconvene the large group and have each smaller group post its list on a wall. As a large group, work together until a single list has been agreed to. Remember, space over the entrance is limited, so the final listshould have only five to eight words. You will find that many of the values overlap and can be consolidated.
8 . When a final list has been agreed on, develop and agree to several behavioral indicators as standards for each value. For example, how does an honest person behave? How does a respectful person behave?
9 . Identify the potential outcomes that will result from consistently engaging in the behaviors just discussed. In other words ,what are hallmarks of how an ethical and responsible school looks and feels to students, to teachers, to parents, to the community?
10 . Develop a community or school action plan. Discuss ways to share the recommendations with others and to put the values into action. In other words, what will we adopt to achieve our goals at home? at school? and in the community?