Code of Ethics for EFL/ESL/TESOL teachers

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Tesol Law have published a draft discussion of a code of ethics, together with a discussion on the thinking behind it. It's not a new idea- the concept has been bandied around before. Most of the code seems pretty straightforward and sensible to me, but the enforceability of it is a different question. Robert J. Dickey, in his discussion, recognises that this could be 'a blessing or a curse' as it doesn't come from a recognised body.

Doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals can be struck off registers and not allowed to work if they don't meet the standards required, which would not be the case here as there is no body and the profession is so fragmented and crosses so many borders. In the course of a lifetime, many ESL teachers will work in many different countries, with many different laws and standards. I think the idea is a good one- teachers who sign up to the code are likely to be the more serious and dedicated ones, even with the unenforceability of it. However, I think that there should also be an employers' code of ethics to try to ensure that standards are met on both sides, especially in a profession like this where there are many unpleasant stories from both sides.

There does seem to be a general movement towards an agreement that something needs to be done in ESL- the huge expansion has led to many areas being bandit territory. Last year there was a sort of movement towards establishing a union in Europe, which seems to have fallen by the wayside. There is also much discussion about tumbling salaries in some areas, and there are places like the UK and South Korea that seem to have greater problems than normal. This code would be a step forwards in my opinion, but one that should go in tandem with a greater acountability amongst the employers too.

Categories: General


It's so vague and wishy-washy as to be useless. Here's what they say about materials:
Publishers of EFL/ESL materials shall:-

i) take all steps to ensure the material is of a high standard
ii) take all steps to provide the EFL/ESL profession with reasonable prices and discounted materials
iii) not publish any material that is in copyright by another author or company

The third is already covered by copyright laws and the other two are completely subjective. It's a waste of time and effort.

francisco gomes de matos

The initiative is commendable,laudable but
conspicuously missing is a core-concept : PEACE.
In 1.3 you state that the FL/SL teacher shall foster in his/her studednts, honesty,integrity,and consideration for others...

In 1.4 you state that the teafchet shall act,and shall be seen to act,with JUSTICE and FAIRNESS
(capitals mine),but nowwhere is there mention
of the TeacherĀ“s Responsibility to contribute to
PEACE and to help his/her students to also do so.
One of the fundamental communicative rihts/responsibilities is that of learning/teaching how to use languages for
the good of Humankind,hence my comment.

Francisco Gomes de Matos,TESOL from Recife,Brazil
I was an invited presented at the 1969 TESOL
Convention. Have been engaged in English Language
Teaching/Education since 1956.
The Code of Ethics you have drafted features on Responsibilities to the students,to colleagues and the teaching profession,to parents and the
(presumably local)community,but there is no
mention of Responsibility to Humankind....

When is the Code to be published ?

Most of the Webmaster's duties seem to be little more than veiled criticisms of Dave's ESL Cafe and the way it is run.

It still seems to be in draft form, which suggests it's another initiative that has gone nowhere slowly.

M.Davies TESOL.Dip.

In my experience it is not the foreign language teacher who needs a code of ethics but more the foreign language employer. This code of ethics lists many things the teacher already knows. After seven years experience in TEFL etc, I think that most would agree that very often the schools and directors of studies are to blame for shortcomings, not the teacher. This code of ethics is a complete waste of time as it does not state anything that any normal teacher would not know anyway, furthermore it mentions next to nothing about the foreign language employer. Without a regulatory body, as other professions have, how will this code of ethic ever be enforced?

Hey thanks for telling. I think most of the people will not know about this

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