International Agreement on the Conduct and Ethics of Theatre Educators
© Ömer Adigüzel, Romi Domkowsky, Ute Handwerg, Klaus Hoffmann, Gerd Koch, Sinah Marx, Inci San #
This agreement was published by BAG Spiel und Theater and ÇDD (Çağdaş Drama Derneği). in Antalya on 31st March 31 2011. The respective German, English and Turkish versions of the agreement are equally valid. Its publication in additional languages would be desirable.
The agreement consists of 24 articles.
The aim here is to formulate an agreement regarding conduct and ethics for theatre educators which form a flexible framework for their work based on the self-imposed rights and obligations detailed in the following.
The agreement formulates a professional ethos of an intellectual, social, educational and artistic nature that seeks to establishment a moral position and is guided by a sense of conscience. It is based on the principle of taking an active responsibility for the well being of school children/learners/students in theatre educational contexts/processes/training programmes and calls for exemplary conduct in public settings and in dealings with colleagues and school children/learners/students as well as with other people in general.
The agreement is valid for theatre educators in professional practice.
The ethics and conduct agreement makes a contribution towards professionalization and the external perception of theatre education.
The agreement for theatre educators combines statements on professional ethics as well as those regarding good professional conduct.
Theatre educators commit themselves to making improvements to this ethics and conduct agreement on a constant basis. Theatre educational training centres, institutions, associations and organisations commit themselves to putting this agreement into force in a open and binding manner, to abide by its principles and to develop it further in keeping with these and to make it standard practice for their members. Those working within the theatre educational profession will make the rules on ethics and conduct which govern their actions public knowledge.
Section I: Definitions
1 Theatre Educators
The term theatre educator refers to people who carry out educational and artistic work at schools, higher educational establishments, universities, training centres and in non-formal settings by means of theatre/drama/performance/the performing arts and the methods and notions employed within these disciplines. The following variants of this job title are equally valid: drama teachers, performing arts teachers, play therapists and cultural educators. The respective national and/or cultural terms for the profession should be taken into consideration here.
The term learner refers to school children, students, children, young people and adults whose progress is influenced by the aesthetic and educational actions taken by theatre educators.
Section II: Professional Ethics
3 Human Dignity
Theatre educators always act in awareness of the need to respect the dignity of every single human being in a legally binding manner. In particular, this awareness is reflected in their work based on the idea that the autonomy of every individual and the expressions they make are taken seriously.4 Validity of International Agreements
The central tenets of the following international declarations, agreements, commitments and conventions that are relevant to the profession and relate to civil society are also applicable:
The work of theatre educators broadens learners horizons with respect to their perception of the world and themselves, pluralism and diversity and social-aesthetic research and design. Learners interests and motivation, their health, well-being, personal development and the advancement of their skills are always of greater importance than any goals linked to formal or financial success.6 Confidentiality
Theatre educators commit themselves to treat any information entrusted to them in the course of their work in a confidential manner in order to protect learners and to refrain from passing such information on to any third party. They also follow a mandate for health, child welfare and youth protection.7 Forbidden Substances
Theatre educators commit themselves to prohibiting the use of forbidden substances and to preventing the dangers of addiction. They counteract negative influences by means of their own example, explanation and behaviour exercises.8 International and Intercultural Emphasis
Theatre educators endeavour to work with other bodies or individuals according to humanist and intercultural principles and see the need to improve their skills in this area as a matter of course. They work with other professions in an interdisciplinary manner.9 Knowledge of Academic Discourse
Theatre educators are involved in educational and artistic discourses and familiarise learners with the range of different approaches that these entail.
Section III: Professional Conduct
10 General Rule of Conduct
This agreement provides a set of guidelines for conduct and ethics that is rooted in a system of norms and values. Those working in the theatre education sector commit themselves to carrying out their professional work in keeping with the general and specific rules of conduct and are encouraged to reflect upon their own normative concepts as well as those of others.11 The Central Tenet of the Learner/Educator Relationship
When working together, the relationship between theatre educators and learners is characterised by mutual respect and a lack of discrimination and is intended to foster the autonomy and the social, cognitive, ethical, aesthetic and individual development of the person in question.12 Creating Mature Individuals
Theatre education is also aimed at creating mature individuals, which is shown by the need to allow learners to express their own ideas and for these to be made use of. Theatre educators regard learners as capable of taking responsibility for their own actions and involve them in decision making as such.13 Working with Colleagues
The working relationship between colleagues is characterised by the voluntary acceptance of the rules of the agreement. The central tenet of equality exists within the profession. Theatre educators commit themselves to consulting the status of the profession as a whole with respect to the criteria of this agreement and to avoid any damage to this status occurring.14 Consolidation of Learners Potential
Theatre educators endeavour to act in an educationally responsible manner in order to serve and consolidate learners physical, cognitive, emotional, social and artistic development in a successful fashion. They support learners in capacity building, personal and social empowerment and developing networks and take their resources into consideration.15 Non-Discrimination and Respect
Theatre educators respect the unique nature of learners, who are treated the same way regardless of sex, social, cultural, family or religious background, sexual orientation, ablebodiedness, world view, political conviction or financial situation. Theatre educators also make sure that learners treat each other with respect.16 Consideration of Learners Current State
All theatre educational measures are to be tailored to the age, experience and the current physical and mental state of learners.17 Consideration of the Social Milieu
Theatre educators endeavour to take the conditions of the learners social milieu (e.g. family, education, profession) and background into consideration with respect to the demands of the processes they establish. They are sensitive to intercultural issues.
Theatre educators learn from learners own strengths and potential and encourage them to take the initiative as individuals with respect to design and artistic expression.
Theatre educators teach their learners to respect different lifestyles and to develop a sense of individual responsibility, autonomy and participation in society with a view to helping them deal with life in (national and global) communities.18 Establishing Trust
Theatre educators endeavour to find solutions that are open, collaborative, fair and humane when resolving conflict. They give learners a feeling of trust from the outset.19 Use of Force
Theatre educators do not use any sort of force when dealing with learners, including any sort of mental coercion. Any use of force is to be discouraged.
Theatre educators avoid acting in such a way that could bear negative consequences for learners. In particular, they do not tolerate any form of neglect or abuse.20 Self Criticism
Theatre educators are ready to criticise themselves and are aware of their role in setting an example in terms of conduct and ethics. They obtain professional advice from colleagues or the corresponding professional associations as necessary.21 Goals of Conduct
Theatre educators teach learners to conduct themselves in a socially acceptable, fair, responsible and well-informed manner and to take an active role in society.22 Preparing for New Challenges
Theatre educators support learners in the acquisition of new knowledge and when trying out new approaches in the fields of theatre, education and conduct. They provide guidance for learners in a professional and long-term manner in order that they can deal with the potential risks of new, surprising or unstable situations successfully.23 International Cooperation
Theatre educators work together both nationally and internationally with other similar individuals and professions.24 Defamation
Defamatory remarks are to be avoided.
Theaterpädagogen und Theaterpädagoginnen unterlassen auch diffamierende Äußerungen über Kollegen, insbesondere im Hinblick auf pädagogisch-ästhetisches Können, Arbeitsleistung und persönliche Wertschätzung.
They respect and protect the working methods and results of their colleagues.
Antalya (TR), 31st March 2011
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