McGill Principles of Practice, Behaviour and Ethical Conduct for Teacher Candidates

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Section I. Introduction

The mission of McGill University’s Bachelor of Education Program within the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) and the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) as well as the Master of Teaching and Learning (MATL) Program within DISE in cooperation with the Faculty of Education’s Internship and Student Affairs Office (ISA) is to prepare teachers who are knowledgeable, skillful, flexible, creative, and compassionate members of the profession guided by a sense of social and ethical responsibility in relation to their students and the wider society.

In keeping with the professional culture of teaching and learning, McGill’s teacher education community believes that teaching and learning spaces should model such professional environments. McGill’s teacher education community is committed to creating authentic opportunities where an understanding of teaching and learning is co-constructed between instructors and teacher candidates, teachers and learners, as well as peer-to-peer and beyond. In order for us to create these learning environments, we are expected to demonstrate awareness of, respect for, and commitment to, the behaviours and actions of professionals. We expect members of McGill’s teacher education community, including teacher candidates, teaching assistants, lecturers, professors and community partners to be accountable to themselves and others, and to be engaged, collegial, and accessible. By doing so, McGill’s teacher education community is more fully able to share together in the types of critical dialogue, creative thinking, and reflective practice expected of professionals.

McGill’s teacher education community is committed to nurturing a space where teacher candidates, teaching assistants, lecturers, professors and community partners can all engage in the exchange of ideas and dialogue, without fear of being made to feel unwelcome or unsafe on account of biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race/ethnicity, religion, linguistic and cultural background, age, physical or mental ability, or any other aspect integral to one's personhood. We therefore recognize that it is our individual and collective responsibility, to strive to establish and maintain an environment wherein all interactions are based on empathy and mutual respect for the person, acknowledging differences of perspectives, free from judgment, censure, and/or stigma.

Finally, McGill’s teacher education community is charged with ensuring that all graduates of its programs have the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of the teaching profession and can meet standards of the Québec Professional Teacher Competencies to be eligible for professional certification as educators in the Province of Québec.


Section II. Goals and Rationale

The role of the teacher and the contexts of teaching have changed. Thus, new resources (knowledge, skills, attitudes) are required to practice the profession and meet the challenges of teaching and learning in whatever contexts teacher candidates may find themselves, and to engage in professional development individually and with others. Teachers enjoy, and should continue to enjoy, important freedoms and privileges. However, with certain freedoms come responsibilities and ethical challenges. Building on the past work of two Standing Committees of the Faculty of Education intent on promoting appropriate ethical and professional conduct, the following revision, renamed as the McGill Principles of Practice, Behaviour and Ethical Conduct for Teacher Candidates seeks to respond to, and address, the following needs:

  • Address the interdependent duties, rights and responsibilities of teacher candidates, teaching assistants, lecturers, professors, field supervisors and community partners.
  • Articulate and make explicit ethical principles that transcend disciplinary boundaries. These principles reflect the fundamental values that are expressed in the duties, rights and responsibilities of all involved in Teacher Education.
  • Support the reasonable implementation of common principles. It is designed to help those involved in Teacher Education, as a matter of sound ethical reasoning, to understand and respect the contexts in which they work and accommodate the needs of others.
  • Encourage continued reflection and thoughtful response to ethical issues. It does not seek definitive answers to all ethical questions or situations. Rather, in an effort towards transparency, collaboration and capacity building, it seeks to outline the guiding principles to ethical conduct and the expectation associated with those principles.


Section III. Framework for the Principles of Practice, Behaviour and Ethical Conduct for Teacher Candidates

The principles guiding practice, behaviour and ethical conduct are developed within an ever-evolving complex societal context, elements of which include the need for reflective action and ethical principles. Education is premised on a fundamental moral commitment to advance and construct knowledge and to ensure human understanding and respect for individual and collective well-being and integrity. The moral imperative of respect translates into the following guiding principles that assume a student-centred perspective reflected in the Québec Education Program as well as Québec Professional Teaching Competencies.

Guiding Principles of Practice, Behaviour and Ethical Conduct for Teacher Candidates

A. Act with Integrity

  1. Respect boundaries in all interactions, including social media, email and online citizenship to ensure objectivity and educator effectiveness as well as student learning or well-being
  2. Take into account how appearance and dress can affect one’s interactions and relationships in school communities and educational organizations 
  3. Meet expectations related to dependability, punctuality, attendance, and participation
  4. Recognize that teacher candidates are representatives of McGill University and guests in school communities and educational organizations. Be accountable for personal conduct. Show enthusiasm, initiative, adaptability, and curiosity
  5. Respect the authority, roles and responsibilities of the university, including faculty, lecturers, field supervisors and staff as well as school/community partners including but not limited to cooperating teachers, school administrators, and school staff
  6. Act in accordance with the expectations for academic integrity as outlined in the McGill Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures
  7. Acknowledge that lack of awareness, knowledge, or understanding of these principles is not, in itself, a defense to a charge of unethical conduct

B. Communicate with Integrity

  1. Communicate clearly, truthfully, respectfully and in a culturally sensitive manner in all interactions and communications, both orally and in writing, online and in-person, with members of the university community including, but not limited to, faculty, lecturers, field supervisors, staff and teacher-candidate peers as well as school/community partners including, but not limited to, students, teachers, school administrators and other school/community-based personnel.
  2. Deliver and receive feedback in a non-defensive and receptive manner.

C. Use social media and technology responsibly

  1. Use social media, email, and the internet responsibly, refraining from posting any information, including photos, or comments related to students or colleagues, or any personal information without appropriate consents
  2. Refrain from engaging with students or parents on all forms of personal social media
  3. Ensure that any and all public engagement with social media is respectful of self, others and the profession
  4. Respect the internet use policies of school boards or community partners when on field placements
  5. Consider the impact of consuming, creating, distributing, and communicating information through all technologies. Be vigilant to ensure appropriate boundaries of time, place, and role are maintained when using electronic communication
  6. Promote the benefits of, and clarify the limitations of, various appropriate technological applications with students, teachers and other school-based personnel, teacher-candidate peers, faculty members, staff and community members
  7. Promote technological applications (a) that are appropriate for students’ individual needs, (b) that students understand how to use, and (c) that assist and enhance the teaching and learning process
  8. Know how to access, document, and use proprietary materials, and understand how to recognize and prevent plagiarism by students and educators
  9. Advocate for equal access to technology for all students, especially those historically underserved

D. Demonstrate Respect for Equity and Diversity

  1. Respect the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual including, but not limited to, actual and perceived gender, gender expression, gender identity, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, physical attributes, disability, race, ethnicity or national origin, socio-economic status, and cultural values, and those protected by the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion as well as respecting and accommodating diversity among members of the school community
  3. Seek to understand students’ educational, academic, personal, and social needs as well as students’ values, beliefs, and linguistic and cultural background

E. Demonstrate Respect for Human Dignity

  1. Contribute to a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning and the conduct of professional work
  2. Maintain personal composure and consideration for others in all interactions
  3. Engage in conduct that does not exploit students or others for personal, sexual, ideological, or other advantage
  4. Establish, respect, and maintain appropriate professional boundaries in relationships with students, peers, colleagues, and other professionals both on- and off-campus
  5. Respect and recognize ethical obligations towards vulnerable persons. Recognize that students are in a vulnerable position and that teacher candidates are in a privileged relationship with students and their families. Refrain from exploiting that relationship in any form or manner
  6. Contribute to an equitable environment in which members of the university community, as well as school/community partners, regardless of the nature of their work or area of study, are free from harassment and discrimination

F. Demonstrate Respect for Confidentiality and Privacy

  1. Respect appropriate confidentiality of all students. The standard of confidentiality permits discussion of information about the student with school authorities who have direct involvement with that student and the release of information as required by law
  2. Maintain a professional relationship that is characterized by respect, confidentiality, and an absence of exploitation. Do not disclose confidential information about students and their families or school personnel, except as required by law or threat to personal security

G. Demonstrate Respect for the Teaching Profession

  1. Create engaging, thoughtful environments that are conducive to the learning and well-being of all students
  2. Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional development and learning. Seek to acquire and apply new knowledge to their teaching practice
  3. Work with colleagues and other professionals to create learning environments in which students feel that they are physically, psychologically, socially, and culturally secure. Collaborate to support all aspects of student development in these secure learning environments
  4. Incorporate into one’s practice provincial standards, including those specific to one’s discipline as outlined in provincial documents such as the Québec Education Programme, Progressions of Learning and Framework for the Evaluation of Learning
  5. Incorporate rigorous and current learning frameworks with regard for the accuracy, relevance and quality of content and pedagogy needed to address the learning outcomes in the Québec education program and other relevant curricula

H. Demonstrate Respect for Existing Ethical Codes and Professional Standards

Adhere to the responsibilities and obligations for teachers as outlined in, but not limited to, the:


All students must complete the Statement of Acknowledgement before gaining access to their Field Experience or Internship placement details. A link to the Statement of Acknowledgement will be sent to students when their placement details are available.



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