Professional Values

The professional values of social justice, integrity, trust and respect and a professional commitment are at the core of the Professional Standards.

The values are reflected across the Professional Standards and are relevant to all registered teachers regardless of post. Values are complex and work to shape who teachers are as professionals.

The educational experiences of all learners are shaped by the values and dispositions of those who work to educate them. In recognition of the importance of professional values, they have been placed at the heart of the Professional Standards.

A commitment to the values underpin the range of relationships, the thinking and professional practice of teachers across Scotland.

The Professional Values

  • Social Justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities now and in the future
  • Trust and Respect are expectations of positive actions that support authentic relationship building and show care for the need and feelings of the people involved and respect for our natural world and its limited resources
  • Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values
  • Making a professional commitment to learning and learners that is compatible with the aspiration of achieving a sustainable and equitable world embodies what it is to be a teacher in Scotland.

The values:

help teachers develop their professional identity and ‘way of being’ as education professionals
develop and drive teacher’s individual and unswerving professional commitment to all learners and colleagues
support and encourage teachers to see beyond the classroom or subject
help teachers to know and develop the whole child through addressing their individual needs
develop teacher’s understanding of their role in collaborative working with a range of partners
recognise the contribution that teachers can make to safeguarding young people and where necessary transform their lives

Demonstrating the Professional Values

The values are demonstrated through professional relationships and practices. The connections between values and practice need to be regularly considered over the course of an individual’s career. This is an important part of being a critically reflective and enquiring professional.

The values can often be overlooked, become platitudes or ‘hurrah’ words. After all, who would not want to claim they are committed to ‘social justice’ or ‘trust and respect’?

They are all difficult areas to measure and evidence in practice. It is for these reasons that it is important to look at explicit ways in which to:

  • reflect on the values
  • understand what they mean in practice
  • consider these as a meaningful part of self evaluation and future planning for professional learning.

When thinking about the values you are often asking two important underpinning questions:

  1. Who am I as a professional?
  2. Why do I think/work in this way?

There is a moral imperative that the values are enacted in everyday practice within and beyond the school context.

Importantly, it is these values that help develop and deepen teacher professionalism over the course of a teacher’s career.

Set in a professional context they encourage and support teachers to ask critical questions of, and to constantly and consistently challenge, their own beliefs and those of others.

In doing this, teachers develop professional insight and skills and consequently maintain their relevance to the education of the young people whom they serve.

In an ever-changing and challenging world it is teacher professionalism that is firmly rooted in a set of shared professional values which helps the young people of today become the thinking and responsible citizen of tomorrow.

The Professional Values are at the core of being a teacher in Scotland.

Professional Guide: a Children’s rights-based approach

This guide is linked to the Professional Values. It is intended to complement employer’s policies and help teachers embed a children’s rights-based approach and effective learner participation into their practice.

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