Professional ethics for early childhood teaching profession

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Within the early childhood context, kindergarten teachers encounter day-to-day ethical dilemmas. These relate to the multiple obligations and responsibilities that kindergarten teachers have when working with different stakeholders, such as children, families, colleagues, organizations, and policy makers (Dahlberg & Moss, 2005; Feeney & Freeman, 2007). Although codes of ethics for teaching profession have been developed and applied in the worldwide, understanding professional ethics of early childhood teachers has been an underdeveloped area of study in Hong Kong. Using the ethical codes from three counties as the base, this study attempts to explore and develop the principles of professional ethics for Hong Kong early childhood sector. Those principles are conceived as an essential part of the professional repertoire which helps teachers make judgment and choices of action in the real-life workplace (Campbell, 2000; Mahoney, 2008). However, those principles are not exhaustive nor applicable to every situation. This study reports the suggested principles of professional ethics which are built on reviewing the extant ethical codes from international and regional contexts and collecting qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews with a total of 13 pre-service and in-service teachers. Findings reveals that professional ethics among early childhood education can be conceptualized into five domains. The interview data also reflect that the dimensions and meanings of professional ethics are varied among pre-service and in-service teachers. This study contributes to articulate dialogues about the notions of professional value, moral reasoning, professional autonomy, and teacher identity. Findings of this study reaffirm the responsibilities and obligations of kindergarten teachers, and this could be seen as a source of insights into the ethical base of teacher professionalism in Hong Kong early childhood context. Copyright © 2023 ISA, International Sociological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
EventXX ISA World Congress of Sociology - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 25 Jun 202301 Jul 2023


ConferenceXX ISA World Congress of Sociology
Internet address


Keung, C. (2023, June 25–July 1). Professional ethics for early childhood teaching profession [Paper presentation]. XX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Melbourne, Australia.


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