Ethical Literacy Practice with Activities


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Cory Stutts has worked since 2007 at Catherine Cook School, an independent Preschool-8 independent school in downtown Chicago. Cory is currently Head of the Middle School. Since 2008 when Catherine Cook joined the Ethical Literacy Learning Community, their focus has been systemic and grounded in professional development. Starting with a core teaching team at the 5 - 8 grade levels, the work has now branched out to span Pre-K through 8, with active participation from leadership at all three division levels, and active student engagement across the board.

This slide set was used at the 7th Annual Ethical Literacy Conference to guide attendees through a series of culture building activities that they could take back and implement in their school setting.

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Ethical Literacy Practice with Activities

  1. 1. Ethical Literacy Conference June 19, 2013 Cory Stutts
  2. 2. Agenda  Introductions  Activities  My Values, Your Values, Our Values  Ethical Fitness/Work Ethic/Professionalism  Trust Café  Break  A Tour of Our Ethics  Schools of Integrity Gallery  Future Issues Café
  3. 3. My Values, Your Values, Our Values  Working with a partner, identify an ethical value that has special meaning for you. You may select one of your school’s shared values or an ethical value that you hold with your family and friends. Tell your partner the value you selected and why it is important to you. Your partner is to do the same.
  4. 4.  Now, each set of partners find another pair.  Share your partner’s ethical value and why it was important to him or her with the new pair. Do not share your own. Have each person do the same.  Listen carefully to what is said and ask questions, if necessary.
  5. 5.  Each group of four finds another group of four. Repeat the sequence for sharing each other’s ethical values, but now in a group of eight.
  6. 6. Reflection  What was it like to share your partner’s ethical value with a new pair or quartet?  What did you discover as you continued to share each other’s ethical values in larger groups?  What did you discover to be similar or different about our values?  What did you learn from this experience and how will that help you in the future?
  7. 7. Ethical Fitness: Right vs. Right  Purpose of this activity is to build fluency in examining right v right dilemmas
  8. 8. Dilemma Paradigms  Truth vs. Loyalty  Justice vs. Mercy  Individual vs. Community  Short term vs. Long term
  9. 9.  Working with your table group, for each paradigm brainstorm examples of dilemmas teachers and students face.  Different from storytelling—examples should be brief and generalized, but plausible and familiar. An example from our school year:  Dixie…specific story  Concert song selections in general  For each example, practice this language: “It’s right on the one hand to ______________________, because…but it is right on the other hand to _______________________” because…
  10. 10.  On the one hand, it is right to perform music that is deeply rooted in a particular history or tradition because it is part of cultural literacy and a broad education; on the other hand, it is right not to perform specific songs because they may be deeply offensive to a particular group.
  11. 11.  On the one hand, it is right to expect teachers to grow in cultural competence because working across differences is a necessary skill in the 21st century; on the other hand, it is right to be clear about expectations and provide support and resources because the paradigm shift can feel like a threat to teachers from the dominant group.
  12. 12.  Generate examples for each of the four paradigms.  Truth vs. loyalty  Justice vs. mercy  Individual vs. community  Short term vs. long term  On the one hand, it is right to… because…  On the other hand it is right to…because…
  13. 13. Resolution Priniciples  Care-based  Rule-based  Needs-based
  14. 14. Resolution Practice  Form groups of two or three. Choose an example your group commonly faces or finds intriguing. Each person in your is responsible for applying one of the three principles. Talk or debate together from these three perspectives.
  15. 15. Ethical Fitness  Some dilemmas are likely to put teachers and parents on opposite sides  Examine the following dilemma that is typical of the kind of situation that can arise
  16. 16. Dilemma  “Jane joined our small sixth grade this year and is taking some time settling in. She tends to be extremely focused on popularity, prone to power plays and manipulation, and in need of attention and constant adult supervision. You have a strong ethic of inclusion at the school, but the six other girls in Jane’s class have approached you to say they’re too exhausted to continue trying to be her friend. You have a dilemma: ‘It’s right on the one hand to insist that they continue trying to play with Jane because eventually everyone may benefit from what is hard work. But it is also right on the other hand to give these girls a break: they’ve conscientiously tried to get along with Jane, and because continuing to force the issue could backfire on her and on the school’s long-term goal of instilling appreciation for inclusion.”
  17. 17.  Analyze the dilemmas by applying the four right-versus- right paradigms, and practice the language in bold above.  How would you resolves the dilemma? Use the three resolution priniciples.  Is there a third way?  Role-play the conversation you would have with the relevant parent, integrating the above language and tools.
  18. 18. Trust Cafe  World Café style  Conversational leadership  Hospitable environment  Can make these very welcoming
  19. 19. Three Rounds of Questions  Where do you find trust in your life (home/family)?  Where do you find trust in your school community?  What question, if answered, could greatly improve the level of trust within your school community?  Harvest—share out
  20. 20. Reflection  Why is trust important in our lives, and within our families, communities, and places of work (school)?  How did this Café experience change how we think about trust?  What will you do to improve the levels of trust in this school community?  What next steps are you willing to take to make a difference in how we trust our school community?
  21. 21. Schools of Integrity Gallery Curriculum  • Finding 1: Pervasive Attention to Ethics and Values  • Finding 2: Critical Thinking Skills Driving and Connecting Learning  • Finding 3: Relationships Fuel Learning and Ethical Development
  22. 22. Leadership  • Finding 4: Cultures of Trust Encourage Ongoing, Honest Feedback  • Finding 5: Trustees as Keepers of the Moral Compass
  23. 23. Professional Development  • Finding 6: Tone at the Top—The School Head As Exemplar  • Finding 7: Tolerance for Ambiguity: “Doubt” is Not a Four-Letter Word  • Finding 8: Professional Development from the Ranks
  24. 24. Students  • Finding 9: Authentic Student Input  • Finding 10: Growth, Not Punishment
  25. 25.  Think about your school’s greatest need.  Stand at the flip-chart that corresponds to the greatest need, in their opinion. Invite participants to discuss their thinking for seven minutes. Encourage discussion of concrete steps for addressing this area of need.  After the first three minutes, post ideas on the flip- chart and/or draw without speaking in a silent “chalk talk.”
  26. 26.  Repeat the above process, but this time stand at the flip-chart that represents your school’s area of strength.  Collect flip-charts for later use.
  27. 27. Future Issues Café  Round One:  Prompt: “What new ethical issues came on our horizon in the first decade of this century?”  Brainstorm in small groups while hosts take notes.
  28. 28.  Round Two:  Review the ideas from Round One  Prompt: “Which three ethical issues from Round One will have the greatest long-term impact? Will the impact be positive, negative, or both? Explain.
  29. 29. Round Three: Review the ideas from Round Two  Prompt: “Based on your thinking from Round Two, what are the implications for your Ethical Literacy team in the next few years?  Is there a specific education process or lesson that needs to take place in light of these ethical issues?” Record some recommendations on your sticky notes and post them.
  30. 30. Thank you all  Let’s stay in touch and share good practices