Ethics and Values


 

The values exercises are drawn from Values Clarification (1972 Simon, Howe, Kirschenbaum) and are designed to facilitate exploration of values, and are not intended to impose any creed, belief, religion, or ideals on the students. They have been used successfully by many teachers for this purpose and have served to generate lively and interesting discussions.

 


Definitions and Background Information

  • Ethics are loosely defined as the study of morals.

  • An ethic is a principal of what is good or right.

  • A is a belief we act upon.

  • A belief is an ideal that we hold to be true but may not or may not be able to act upon.

Valuing is composed of seven sub-processes (Raths, Harmin, Simon, 1966)

Prizing one's beliefs and behaviors
  1. prizing and cherishing
  2. publicity affirming, when appropriate

Choosing one's beliefs and behaviors
  3.
choosing from alternatives
  4. choosing after consideration of cons
  5. choosing freely

Acting on one's beliefs
  6. acting
  7. acting with a pattern, consistency and repetition

Introduction to these 3 activities

The three activities aim at prizing, choosing and acting respectively.  It is important to maintain a neutral position during the facilitation of values clarification exercises.  Students must feel free to express themselves without judgment or criticism.  If teachers wish to participate, it would be wise to wait until the end of the exercises so as to avoid undue influence. It is also important that students be assured that their opinions, ideas, and feelings will be respected.

 The ambience needs to be safe and open for both the ESL and the green objectives to be achieved.


 

Activity One:  20 Things You Like to Do.

Objectives

Green (Earth Literacy Goals)

  1. Students will learn what their current beliefs are in respect to the  planet.
  2. Students will learn how their beliefs are or are not reflected in behavior in respect to the planet.

ESL

  1. Student will  practice discussion skills and use correct discussion etiquette.

  2. Students will improve ease and fluency in English while working on sensitive topics.

Materials

Students will need a pen or pencil and a piece of notebook paper.

Time

1- 1.5 hours

 

Steps/procedures

  1. A warm-up activity might be to have students list 5 cherished values and then each person can share the one or two most important values. During the sharing the teacher should remind the students that acceptance and good listening skills are necessary. These skills would have been dealt with in other lessons.

  2. Some initial discussion might include how one or more of the values fit the seven criteria.  The main point of this warm-up is to reinforce the cognitive understanding of the criteria and establish the emotional setting.

  3. Instruct the students to number from 1 to 20 down the left side of the paper.  Next to each number students should list activities they do most often. 

  4. Ask them to make seven vertical lines for seven more columns and label them as in example.

  5. In the second column ask students to rate how much they like the activity.  You might suggest a simple 1 to 5 rating, 1 being low.  The idea of the abbreviations is to facilitate speedy responses.  

  6. In column three ask them to rate how often they do the activity within a week's time.  Again use a 1 to 5 quick rating, low frequency is a 1. 

  7. Give them "a few minutes" to consider their responses.  Suggest they check to see how often they do things they really like and how often they do things they do not much enjoy.  Ask them if their actions reflect their values. 

  8. After consideration they should share their information with others in small groups of 3-4 people.

  9. You may stop after each of the next columns and have small group discussion or wait until the end and facilitate the discussions. 

  10. Next ask them to indicate in col. 4 whether they do these activities alone or with others. 

  11. In column 5 indicate how much energy is required.  Point out that energy in this case refers energy outside our bodily needs and thus walking is a 0 and flying is a 5. 

  12.  In column 6 indicate the dollar cost to the individual. 

  13.  In col. 7 indicate the impact on the planet.  This can be also calculated by factoring in number of people, frequency, energy consumption and getting a total. 

  14. In col. 8 , considering how necessary it is, how much it is enjoyed, and how much it hurts or helps the planet, indicate how easily the activity might be modified.

 

Variations:

  • Discussions might be done in a large group setting. 

  • Calculate impact on planet by considering ways to save energy; i.e., car-pooling.

  • The activity might be repeated later in the term and viewed for change.

  • The symbols and rating systems can be modified in any way that is easier to use. 

  • The grid with symbols, could be previously printed up to save time plus eliminate confusion.  However, there is an advantage to the direction giving method as it gives students practice in following oral instructions in English. 

  • Students might be asked to do the exercise at home and report back to the class their families' reactions.

Evaluation

A quick way to get feedback is to ask students to complete the following phrases:

                        Today I learned .................

                        With this learning I am going to ............

Be sure to point out to students that they can complete both phrases as many times as they would like.


 

Activity Two:  Alternatives Search

 

Objectives

Green (Earth Literacy Goals)

  1. Students will assess their own actions and determine if they are earth friendly

  2. Students will look for alternatives to current behaviors that will be easier on the planet.

  3. Students will consider the advantages and disadvantages of current behavior.

  4. Students will consider the advantages and disadvantages that a new behavior would have.

ESL

  1. Student will  practice discussion skills and use correct discussion etiquette.

  2. Students will improve ease and fluency in English while working on sensitive topics.

Materials

Students will need a pen or pencil and a piece of notebook paper.

Time

1- 1.5 hours

Steps/Procedures

  • Ask students to brainstorm ideas to one of the following topics:

  1. Low energy activities

  2. Ways to save electricity

  3. Creative ways to save paper

  4. Ways to conserve water

  5. ents to be specific and to generate as many ideas as possible.  Don't be judgmental or critical. 

  6. At the end ask students to copy down all the ideas. 

  7. Ask them to form

  • Encourage students to be specific and to generate as many ideas as       possible. Don't be judgmental or critical.

  • At the end ask students to copy down all the ideas.

  • Ask them to form small groups and discuss the feasibility of the ideas.

Variations:

  • You might use one of these additional topics:

    • Ways to help children learn about the environment

    • Activities that involve the environment

    • Ways to shop that are environmentally sound

    • Ways to use less gas

  • After listing all the alternatives ask students to discuss with their group each idea and determine if they will try it, consider it, or won't try it.

Variations:

You might use one of these additional topics:

  • Ways to help children learn about the environment

  • Activities that involve the environment

  • Ways to shop that are environmentally sound

  • Ways to use less gas

After listing all the alternatives ask students to discuss with their group each idea and determine if they will try it, consider it, or won't try it.


Activity Three:  Getting Going

Objectives

Green (Earth Literacy Goals)

  1. Students will learn to translate the awareness from the previous exercises into action.

  2. Students will learn that if they value an idea they must act on it.

  3. Students will learn to consider impact of their actions in formulating a new plan.

 

ESL

  1. Student will practice discussion skills and use correct discussion etiquette.

  2. Students will improve ease and fluency in English while working on sensitive topics.

Materials

Handout the copies of the page below.

Ask students to share their plans with each other.  Suggest how they might help each other achieve their goals for helping the planet.

Time

1- 1.5 hours

Steps/Procedures

Give the handout to the students and let them fill their own information in the areas.

This can be done alone or in small groups. It could be done as homework and brought back to class. When completed, their responses will serve as the data and basis for a large group discussion.

Variations:

If it seems that students are not ready to commit, the teacher could change from " will do" to "might do."  Also an exploration of what blocks there are to action could be discussed. 

Encourage students to find simple actions that would suffice the action component.  For example, they might design an information sign.  They might set up a classroom recycle paper box that ties in with the school's program.  They might make list of places to find cheap recycled school materials such as notebook paper.

A homework assignment might be to keep a journal of progress and experiences that could later be shared in a group discussion

Resources

50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth by Andrews and McMeel.

The Recycler's Handbook. by EarthWorks Press.

Values and Teaching  Louis Raths, Harmin Merrill, and Sidney Simon

Values Clarification by Sidney Simon, Leland Howe and Howard Kirschenbaum


HANDOUT

 

What I am going to do   When  (start date) How (1st steps)
Example

1.         recycle this week  

 

on pick up days

 

 put out glass and paper at curb on

                                                                                   

1._________________________________________________________

2._________________________________________________________

.3._________________________________________________________

 4._________________________________________________________

 5._________________________________________________________

 6._________________________________________________________

 7._________________________________________________________

 8._________________________________________________________

 9._________________________________________________________

 10_________________________________________________________