Ethical Guidelines for English as a Second Language Professionals

TESL Canada Federation of Canada has generated a set of ethical guidelines to maintain the integrity of professionals and clients within its profession. These guidelines are designed to establish a standard of professional conduct Canada-wide and to assist practitioners within our profession to reflect upon the values and responsibilities central to their vocation as teachers.


  • ESL practitioners commit to teach, research, and behave in a manner that respects the rights and privileges of individuals without the prejudice as to race, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, physical characteristics ancestry, or place of origin
  • ESL practitioners pledge to be receptive to different styles and approaches to teaching and to treat their students impartially and with respect, bearing in mind their ongoing learning needs and abilities
  • ESL practitioners resolve not to tutor or take remuneration for tutoring or providing assistance to students who are taking that subject in their class
  • ESL practitioners commit not to use their professional roles to gain goods or services from students under their charge
  • ESL practitioners will not have intimate personal relationships with the students who are under their tutelage or under their classroom instruction
  • ESL practitioners will uphold the confidentiality of information provided by students unless as required by law, or deemed in the instructor’s professional opinion, to be in the student’s best interest
  • ESL practitioners model ethical and respectful behaviour with students at all times both inside and outside the classroom.
  • ESL practitioners respect the student/teacher privileged relationship in all their interactions with students.

In Relation to Colleagues

  • ESL practitioners resolve to give credit to and determine authorship on the basis that all those, regardless of status, who have made a substantive and/or creative contribution are listed as authors
  • ESL practitioners pledge to respect the rights of others to hold values and opinions different from their own
  • ESL practitioners commit to contributing ideas, materials and resources to one another
  • ESL practitioners resolve to model ethical behavior with co-workers and those they supervise

In Relation to the Profession

ESL practitioners accept the participation within the TESL Canada Federation as a professional responsibility and commit to:

  • Be reflective and self-critical in their practice
  • Conduct themselves in a manner which maintains the reputation of the profession and not jeopardize its public standing
  • Conduct research within the field in an ethical manner, and give authorship when and wherever it is due
  • Be aware of various power relationships and not use their professional roles for personal gain or fraudulent purposes
  • Seek and deliver professional development undertakings as much as possible with or without the explicit directive of their employers
  • Support the profession by participating in and contributing to the activities of the local, provincial or national bodies by way of time and/or effort
  • Make presentations on behalf of the TESL Canada Federation only with the written consent of its Executive

References / Sources:

ATESL ethical guidelines
Ethical Guidelines for Educational Developers
Ontario College of Teachers Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession
Ethical Standards of American Educational Research Association