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New code of conduct says teachers CAN interact with pupils on Facebook

The guidelines drawn up by the Teaching Council say teachers should make sure that any interaction on social networks is ‘appropriate’.

Image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A NEW CODE of conduct for teachers in Ireland says that it is acceptable for teachers to interact with pupils on social media, as long as the interaction is ‘appropriate’.

Guidelines drawn up by the Teaching Council says teachers should take care with any communication with students, including communication via electronic media such as e-mail, texting and social networking sites.

The guideline would seem to contradict earlier comments by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn who has said that it is not appropriate for teachers and students to interact on social media sites.

In March, the minister said that he could “find it difficult to envisage how, in the normal course of events, it would be appropriate for teachers or any other school staff to communicate with their pupils through social media websites”.

However the Council said that it recognises the benefit that can be gained from appropriate use of electronic communications and social media in the current learning environment.

The Council said it also accepts that “there is a balance to be struck between personal and professional interaction in what is ultimately the public forum of social media”.

The core values of respect, care, integrity and trust should inform the professional judgement of teachers in all that they do, including online communications with pupils/students, parents, colleagues and others in the school community.

The director of the Teaching council Tomás Ó Ruairc said that the publication of the new code of conduct was an important and positive development.

The new code of professional conduct for teachers sets out standards for competence, knowledge and skill for all registered teachers in the country.

Poll: Should teachers be on social media with students?

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