According to the NASW Code of Ethics (COE) 2008, "professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and...

According to the NASW Code of Ethics (COE) 2008, "professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards".  It also lays down the standards of integrity professionalism and confidentiality which all members are bound.

I have to explore other COEs which will compare and contrast these COEs. could someone help me with this please?

A comparison shows how two things are alike while a contrast shows how they are different.

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The National Education Association (NEA) Code of Ethics (COE) states that,

The educator, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizes the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, and the nurture of the democratic principle.

In this sense, the idea of professional ethics is evident. The Code states that the preservation of dignity and the focus being better and "democratic" is what teaching should be all about. Clearly, the social work and the educational fields operate under the paradigm of social nesting, that is, under the premise that the individual will obtain all that is needed to succeed either in life, or as a citizen. This is done with respect above all, citing dignity and democratic principle as main tenets. 

The Ethical Principles of the of the NSWA are divided into values which are:

  • Service- help to beat the obstacles of social problems
  • Social Justice, or defeating social injustice
  • Dignity and Worth of the Person-
  • Importance of Human Relationships
  • Integrity, or trustworthy behavior from the social worker, and
  • Competence

Similarly, the COE of the NEA has ethical principles. However, the difference is that these are "commitment-based" rather than based on values. They are:

  • Commitment to the student
  • Commitment to the profession

It is very important to understand what the ethical principles of each field entail. As seen before, the NSWA denotes a want to serve, defend, and protect the individual from social variables. In the NEA we sense that the need for using the word "commitment" is synonymous to giving an assurance of ethical behavior. When the NEA says that they are committed to the student, some interesting scenarios are set forth in a way that is more descriptive than the NSWA. This does not take away from the specificity and clarity in the NSWA CoE, but makes one wonder whether the NEA cites specific scenarios of ethical behavior as a result of the controversial behaviors of so many teachers that have blatantly violated the code in recent years. For example, the NEA states as specific scenarios the following:

  • humiliating students
  • abuse or mistreat them
  • concede favors to specific students
  • deny the opportunities for learning
  • creating an unsafe environment

As far as committing to the profession, the scenarios include:

  • help non-teachers get teaching jobs
  • making false accusations of colleagues
  • give recommendations to ill-prepared teachers
  • lie about qualifications

This is very different from the NSWA's commitment to its clients. In the NSWA legalities are more important than anything. The mandatory giving of an informed consent, confidentiality, and record-keeping are part of the commitment that social workers have. Aside from these, social workers establish that they will not:

  • engage in any form of sexual activity with a client
  • enter in cases where there may be a conflict of interest
  • harass or denigrate a client.

More legalities are present in the NSWA, which include

  • not disclosing client information with other social workers
  • speaking on behalf of the best interests of the client if the latter cannot make a choice
  • informing of termination of services in a timely manner
  • whistle-blow about any colleague's wrong-doing or illegal doing.
  • referring to a more qualified social worker if that is necessary.

Yet, we can agree that both fields demonstrate a marked want for establishing what is considered appropriate and what is not. The specific nature of their scenarios are geared toward clearing any doubt as to how they expect ALL social workers and ALL teachers to treat clients and students. Should there be a lawsuit, an employee in either field could be taken to the Board of Ethical behavior. This means that the CoE is a great symbol of accountability: if you are aware of what you are and are not supposed to do, then acting against that knowledge makes you liable. This is why these rules of ethical behavior are so important: they not only protect the client, and the student, but they protect the organization and the reputation of the field; whoever wants to go ahead and break one of these rules must face the consequences.