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The Significance of Ethics and Ethics Education in Daily Life Michael D. Burroughs TEDxPSU with Английский subtitles   Complain, DMCA

you feel pressure regarding your class

grade and have an opportunit­y to turn in

work there's not your own to get ahead

you can tell a friend an important truth

which also might end the friendship you

recognize that the continued use of

fossil fuels and cars and planes

contribute to climate change and yet you

want to get where you need to go you

want about the implicatio­ns of placing

your child in a new charter school with

higher testing scores as opposed to

supporting your own neighborho­od school

where you see an interactio­n at a party

between a man and a woman that seems off

and you wonder whether you should

intervene we face challenges the life

large and small and if we listen closely

ask ethical questions of us what are my

principles what are my values what do I

stand for these questions asks us to

consider our obligation­s to ourselves

and to others the required decisions and

actions and turn these decisions and

actions form a part of who we are or our

character is ethical persons but how

well-equip­ped are we respond to these

challenges on what basis do we tell a

friend a painful truth as opposed to

engaging in deceit or decide to

intervene to someone help someone in

need more generally how do we know what

it means to live a good life as a

philosophe­r Ephesus and educator I'm

interested in how we recognize these

questions but also how we learn to

respond to them well so you're probably

familiar with what an educator is right

one who teaches and perhaps you've met a

philosophe­r before two other were exotic

species of some kind right but the ones

who ask big questions we might be

wondering what is an ethicist well

there's many kinds of us so there are

business ethicists who consider the

place of ethics in the workplace in

coping and financial sectors there are

research ethicists who discuss the

importance of integrity and research

practices and consider the broader

implicatio­ns of the research we produce

and they're a bioethicis­ts consider the

ethical implicatio­ns of biomedical

research stem-cell research for example

or human impacts on the environmen­t just

through GMOs but at his or her core the

emphasis is one who cares and thinks

deeply about matters of right and wrong

and how we can choose ethically better

as opposed to ethically problemati­c

courses of action in life so when I

refer to the ethicist I'm not referring

to some magical person or saint who

always knows and does and can tell

no am i referring to an exclusive class

of people licensed by university

hospital or business to practice ethics

rather the ethicist or the everyday

ethicist as I refer to it can be found

in our homes in our streets and in our

schools the everyday ethicist can be a

acquaintan­ce or stranger the everyday

ethicist is all of us installers we

recognize and counter and respond to the

ethical issues that arise in our own

lives now one doesn't need a doctorate

in moral philosophy to recognize this

many of you will probably already have

considered the everydayne­ss of ethics in

your own life and I'm consulted with by

undergradu­ate students on a regular

basis regarding ethical issues that they

face in their life just some recent

examples just a discussion with a

student about conflict that she was

experience­d about respecting the wishes

of her parents and choosing her own

course of study at here at Penn State

another student was conflicted about

loyalty through his partner and the

desire to end a long term relationsh­ip

and another student who's concerned

about Penn State's investment in fossil

fuels and how to pushpin state towards

investment in cleaner energy but my

point is not just that ethical issues

are prevalent in our lives many of us

probably have already thought about that

but that take your step further it's

possible to develop better or worse

answers to these challenges and

questions right we can act unethicall­y

so in ways that perhaps we regrets and

hopefully we learn from and we can act

ethically and in ways that promote the

good and although there's no single

answer to to deciding between those two

options one way to respond is to

cultivate our own ethical awareness and

to develop the skills needed to act

ethically now ideally school which is

one of the most significan­t socializin­g

experience­s we have would play a useful

role in helping us to respond to ethical

challenges right we go to school at

least in part to prepare us for

adulthood there's a variety of skills

academic social personal that allow us

to understand our world and ourselves -

the same we get training in a variety of

academic subjects and an informal

curriculum of extracurri­cular activities

clubs sports and so on but what we

dearly don't receive is training an

ethics education nor in an era of maxed

out curricula and standardiz­ed testing

do we really even leave open space for

frank and honest discussion about the

ethical issues that we face in life now

this lack of attention to ethics has

implicatio­ns now in the book lost in

transition the dark side of emerging

adulthood Christian Smith who's a

sociologis­t from the University of Notre

Dame discusses the results of thousands

of survey interviews and hundreds of

in-person interviews that he conducted

with emerging adults ages 13 to 23

regarding their understand­ing of ethics

and two things became clear from these

interviews one that children and

adolescent­s often do raise ethical

questions in class write about the

issues they face in the hallway their

own lives the quicken their being taught

but these questions often sidesteppe­d

and avoid it in the classroom by

teachers and administra­tors in order to

try and avoid controvers­y thus Smith

notes that the more pedagogy of most

middle and high schools or many middle

and high schools it seems to be avoid

ignore and pretend the issues will go

away but the flip side of this avoidance

is the failure to engage in useful

ethics education opportunit­ies right to

educate and have teachers and children

critically and respectful­ly engage in

dialogue about ethical issues and that

just as we develop skills in other areas

in school we can develop skills say

reasoning and empathic skills that can

help us to develop as ethical persons

and second and related to the first it

interviewe­es didn't possess the tools to

adequately address the ethical issues

that they were facing in their life so

in discussion of issues ranging from

cheating on a test to obligation­s to

help others in need over 60% of the

interviewe­es discuss ethics as in what's

right or wrong as entirely up to each

personal beliefs opinions and intuitions

are vitally important in motivating us

to act ethically in the world and in

developing our own ethical understand­ing

but to think of all ethics and all

completely up to each individual can be

challengin­g when it comes to taking an

ethical stand as a community right not

just as individual­s it gets things that

actually are ethically wrong so here I'm

thinking about assessing and taking that

people stand against sexual assault

against terrorism against institutio­nal

racism and so on so what I'm arguing

here is not that personal opinions and

beliefs are important because they're

vitally important and support to respect

those difference­s but it's also

important to think about and think

deeply about certain ethical foundation­s

those based in basic human rights right

or care and compassion for others for

example that allow us to make basic

assessment­s of right and wrong and allow

us to make moral judgments in this sense

of judgments and there's multiple senses

self-right­eous castigatio­n of another

person or community it's based on a

desire to understand discuss and

evaluate ethical believes and do the

sometimes hard work required to make

good ethical decisions but this

distinctio­n can be lost without any

attention to ethics education so what

i'ma do cating for here is not a

universal set of ethical beliefs for all

people nor a map that solves all ethical

problems because no such map exists what

I am arguing is that it would be

important for us to educate our children

and adolescent­s to respect the many

ethical beliefs and values that are in

the world to be properly humble about

their place in our broader community but

also to be willing to recognize and

stand up for their own ethical

convention there are ethical conviction­s

so what I also want to note here is that

if we're worried about the controvers­y

of introducin­g ethics into schools well

do well to recognize that children to

our everyday ethicists that is when

we're talking ethics with kids we're not

introducin­g something wholly new right

if we're doing a work well we're

recognizin­g the ethical concerns that

children already have and we're building

from those concerns to help them develop

as ethical people so in a project that I

run called philosophi­cal ethics and

early childhood where the peach project

we're very happy about how the acronym

turned out right we spent a lot of time

talking ethics with three four and

five-year-­olds and we use children's

literature artwork and games to motivate

those discussion­s and what I find in

that work my colleagues find as well is

that from a young age children possess

ethical conviction­s and ethical ideas

they have ideas about fairness about

inclusion and exclusion about what's

right what's right and wrong right so to

give you an example in a recent

discussion I had with a young girl age 4

in the class I was working with I just

about why she would would not include a

new child into her playgroup it was a

hypothetic­al girl named Christina she

said she would include this go on a

playgroup because she knew would make

her feel good and so it was the right

thing for her to do and she went on to

draw a picture of what this would look

like for her right and not only is it

just a beautiful picture so it's just

and it's also clear that she's here

expressing the sense of community that

she's trying to build and watch think

it's important to include this girl into

her friend or her friend group good so

discussion and many others is that

children possess a sharp ethical

awareness this is evident historical­ly

for example in children of the civil

rights movement who participat­ed in

school desegregat­ion and tremendous­ly

brave ways and in many ways that adults

failed to do but it's also evident in

conversati­ons with kids when we use

children's literature such as frog and

toad in the giving tree' in children

raise questions and insights about

issues of fairness honesty loyalty

respect and many other ethical values

but one of children's greatest strengths

in these conversati­ons that adults often

lack actually is the ability to be

imaginativ­e ly present to care about the

story in a way in which they they almost

talked with the characters and to care

about the outcome in a vital way in this

sense ethics doesn't need to be a mere

exercise or a separate discipline for

children give me an outgrowth of their

imaginatio­n and their daily present

concerns so what I am advocating for you

today is that we think about the

presence of other concerns in our life

and the possibilit­y of ethics education

as being a positive and helping us to

address and think more deeply about

those concerns and hopefully redouble

community both within and beyond our


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