ETHICAL VALUES AND OTHER K INDS OF VALUES

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1 3. Defining Ethical V a l u e s ETHICAL VALUES AND OTHER K INDS OF VALUES PURPOSE To help students begin to understand what ethics means To distinguish ethical values from other kinds of values PREPARATION AND MATERIALS Photocopy the Ethical Values and Other Kinds of Values handout. Photocopy the Ethical Values and Other Kinds of Values worksheet. Arrange your classroom so students can work in small groups on this activity. PROCESS Read the text together as a whole class, or in small groups if that seems more appropriate. Discuss the ideas in the text and the different terms targeted. Next, break your class into small groups, if you have not already done so. Pass out copies of the Ethical Values and Other Kinds of Values worksheet. Ask students to work together in their small groups to determine the ethical and nonethical values in each example. Ask them to mark E over the ethical and N over the nonethical values, as per the directions at the top of the sheet. Then, as an extension to the worksheet, invite each group to choose a scenario to perform for the class (or assign one to each group). Give students time to prepare their skits. After each group presents to the class, use the opportunity to firm up the difference between ethical values and other kinds of values through discussion about the skit. 71

2 ETHICAL VALUES AND OTHER K INDS OF VALUES The word ethics has to do with good or doing the right thing. An ethical decision is the kind of decision that has to do with making a good choice. When people talk about values, they are often referring to ethical values the kind of values that have to do with being good or doing the right thing. They mean the values that are good for a family. There are lots of values, however, that have nothing to do with ethics. It is important to be able to tell the difference between ethical values and nonethical values if you want to get at the most basic ideas about goodness or doing the right thing. In the scenarios on the worksheet, you ll be exploring the difference between ethical and nonethical values. If you feel some confusion about the difference, try this test. Ask yourself, Is this value about goodness, or doing the right thing? Would you consider a person with this value to be a better person than someone without this value?

3 ETHICAL VALUES AND OTHER K INDS OF VALUES In each of the following examples, the ethical values and the nonethical values are underlined. Write an E over the ethical values. Write an N over the nonethical values. The first one is done for you. SCENARIO #1: Jeff is very athletic and he plays on the basketball team. What I like most about the way he plays is that he s such a team player. He would never keep the ball just to make a fancy play. He s considerate of everybody else on his team. N Is being athletic about goodness or doing the right thing? E Is considerate? SCENARIO #2: Sheila is one of the most responsible people I know. She is very adventurous and likes to challenge herself in all sorts of ways, but she doesn t forget to be sensible. Once some of us climbed a really tall tree together, and then I had trouble getting down. Sheila didn t just run off, but helped me find a way to the ground. She knew I could have hurt myself if she hadn t stayed to help.

4 Is being responsible about goodness or doing the right thing? Is adventurous? SCENARIO #3: I like visiting Rakesh s family because they re so hospitable. They re pretty wealthy, but they never make me feel uncomfortable at their home. Just the opposite is true. They make me feel like a part of the family and we always have lots of fun. Is being hospitable about goodness or doing the right thing? Is wealthy? SCENARIO #4: I like Samantha because she s respectful of everybody, even though she can be really funny. Some kids tell jokes that are hurtful and mean. Samantha knows how to make everybody laugh, and nobody gets hurt. Is being respectful about goodness or doing the right thing? Is funny?

5 SCENARIO #5: Barry is very musical, and sometimes I wish I could play the guitar as well as he can. I also admire his honesty. The other day, when band practice didn t go very well, he was the first to admit that he hadn t really practiced the way he d promised. Is being musical about goodness or doing the right thing? Is honesty? SCENARIO #6: Jill is very creative and will probably become an artist someday. She s a great help when we work on group projects because she always has good ideas about what we should do. She also is cooperative with everyone else. When we work together, I never feel like she s bossing me around, even though she usually knows the best way to go about getting the job done. Is being creative about goodness or doing the right thing? Is cooperative?

6 3. Defining Ethical V a l u e s CATEGORIZING VALUES PURPOSE To continue exploration of ethical values and other types of values PREPARATION AND MATERIALS Photocopy the Which is It? worksheet. You can make a copy for each student, to fill out independently, or enough copies for students to work with in small groups (one copy per group). Or, if you think this would benefit your class more, transcribe the worksheet s values list onto chart paper and work as a whole group. Have chart paper and markers ready to make a class poster. TIP: You can use this activity to assess students understanding of the concept of ethical values. PROCESS Have your students work through the worksheet individually, in pairs, or as a whole class. Once the worksheet is complete, check answers and make sure the meaning of ethical value is clear. Now use the students work to make a poster. List Ethical Values in one column on the poster. List Nonethical Values in another column. Leave space in the Ethical Values column for more words. Throughout literature, history, science, and other content area studies, you will come across more examples of ethical values. Add to the list as your students discover new words, helping them to make connections to ethics from a variety of subject matter. 77

7 WHICH IS IT? All the words listed below represent values. Circle the words that represent ethical values. Honest Playful Serious Smart Gentle Considerate Careful Kind Adventurous Outgoing Genuine Witty Athletic Responsible Artistic Reserved Creative Respectful Attentive Hospitable Open Fair Ambitious Brave

8 3. Defining Ethical V a l u e s CHARACTER T RAITS : FAMOUS P EOPLE PURPOSE To further explore ethical values and how they differ from other kinds of values PREPARATION AND MATERIALS Arrange reading groups as you deem appropriate. (Some teachers like to mix reading abilities and personalities; others prefer to arrange the reading groups according to proficiency.) Find level-appropriate biographies or passages from biographies of respected people in history. You will need chart paper and some simple guidelines for student research. Students will need time to research and carry out the assignment. PROCESS Provide students with the opportunity to read about respected people in history. As they read, ask them to look for character traits that seem to represent important values. Have the students list these traits on chart paper. After they are finished reading and listing character traits, ask them to test each trait as was done for them in the Ethical Values and Other Kinds of Values activity. Have each group present their findings to the class. Post the lists of values in the classroom. As an extension to the research, invite each reading group to write an imaginary interview with the famous person they have studied. Or, they might act out the most interesting event from their reading. 79

9 3. Defining Ethical V a l u e s CHARACTER T RADITIONAL T RAITS IN L ITERATURE PURPOSE To discover the role that values play in different genres of children s literature PREPARATION AND MATERIALS Gather examples of fables, fairy tales, folk tales, myths, and/or any other literature genre with which your students are already familiar. Arrange your class in reading groups (see the Character Traits: Famous People activity). PROCESS Ask each group to explore four or five stories from each genre. As they read the stories, have the students list the character traits of the heroes or sympathetic characters in each story. (Villains have character traits too, but they are usually negative. Focus on the positive ones.) After they are finished reading and listing the character traits, ask them to test each trait as was done in the Ethical Values and Other Kinds of Values activity. Then have each group present their findings to the class. Post their lists of values in the classroom. Use extension activities like the ones described in the Character Traits: Famous People activity, if time allows. 81

10 3. Defining Ethical V a l u e s A N OTE TO PARENTS All of us have different kinds of values. Our ethical values define what we think of as good or right. This week in school we are working on identifying ethical values and other kinds of values.

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