Next year, the Victorian Curriculum will be introducing the teaching of Ethics as a subject. Our school is lucky to be one of schools who will be contributing to the Department of Education’s knowledge of the teaching and learning of Ethics as a subject. As a result, we have begun our Ethics Inquiry to best determine how to teach and most importantly assess Ethics.
Our Ethics Inquiry began with a bang! Students were asked to create groups or “countries” based on the colour of their clothing, create a secret handshake, come up with five group values and design matching passports. Each group is assigned to a certain area within the room which they cannot yet leave.
“But where are the ethics?” you ask.
Well consider the wildfire of conversation sweeping through our Learning Community! Groups of students forming allegiance, others rebelling against the majority, students debating decisions and plotting escapes to more favourable countries.
And shall I tell of the bone shuddering noise made when the political structures for each country were being designed? The entire building shook with the roar of the republics, the justifications of the monarchs, the crumple and tear of the democratic voting papers, the shaking fury of the dictatorship and the simmering rage of the oppressed.
Or, shall I tell you of the whispers of civil war as breakaway groups plot against the governments, of the clandestine recordings of our spy network or of the sidelong gazes that cross borders, fraught with promise and hope?
The exploration of ethics is not supposed to be a comfortable experience. By shrinking the world into one small room and the population into a small group of people it is our hope that, faced with the very real challenges of today’s world, experiencing the discomfort, uncertainty and reasoning of solving the ethical dilemma, our students will begin to develop and consolidate their own ethical behaviours and apply them to an ever broadening range of contexts.
Alas, at this point in time, there is little more I can say except for this: The road ahead may be fraught with danger. A notorious government will be disbanded and exiled, fleeing across the border. But where will they go? Who would want them? And how are they going to get anywhere without their passports?
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