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How do you demonstrate trustworthiness in your practice?
By Michael Salvatori, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman
Care. Respect. Trust. Integrity.
The College’s ethical standards represent a vision of professional practice at the heart of which is a commitment to students and their learning.
College members, in their position of trust, demonstrate responsibility in their relationships with students, parents, guardians, colleagues, educational partners, other professionals, the environment and the public.
To be entrusted with the care of students is a privilege. It’s important that we reflect regularly on how that trust is earned and how we demonstrate trustworthiness as individual members and as a profession.
While preparing for a recent presentation to regulators on risk management and mitigation, I read some of the work of Irish philosopher and academic Onora O’Neill. O’Neill suggests that we need to consider trustworthiness when we explore the notion of trust in the public interest. She defines trustworthiness as competence, honesty and reliability. Trust is earned when an individual, a collective or an organization demonstrates that it can carry out its responsibilities effectively, consistently and with integrity.
Our ethical standards offer a useful and sound framework for ethical reflection and action that can help us demonstrate our trustworthiness to parents and the public.
The College’s public register (known as Find a Teacher on our website) also assists in providing evidence of trustworthiness by featuring the impressive academic and professional qualifications of our members.
The proof in the trust pudding is our individual practice and our capacity to forge strong relationships with students and their families predicated on mutual respect. Use the professional standards resources at oct-oeeo.ca/ProfessionalStandards to engage in professional dialogue and to reflect with your colleagues on what trust means, how we demonstrate it and the power it has to inspire confidence in our work alone and together.