As contextualized by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, the overall goal of these modules is to help "students choose right over wrong, and be responsible for the consequences of those choices. "To do so, students would need to develop a value system that enables them to recognize how they affect others, to consider the consequences of their acts, and to adopt a mature set of goals. This can be achieved with consistent reinforcement in education-at all levels of schooling.
Many professional fields recognize the importance of ethics, and many classes in high school and college already include this content. Thus students are already exposed to areas such as business ethics, medical ethics, research ethics, and legal ethics (including international law and human rights). We will not focus on these ethics courses specifically, as they are already well established.
These modules are intended to be integrated into the curriculums of high school or the first two years of college. These are introductory topics on ethical perspectives, and in that regard, they could be considered valuable preparation for a course in ethics for in-depth study. Besides laying the foundations for appreciating the importance of ethics for decisions they must make, the topics in these modules are important because they focus on the issues every student faces in education, their communities, and in their lives. We hope these modules can help provide students some guidance in their awareness, reflection, and decision-making.
The instructional design of the modules is primarily based on “The 5 E’s of Constructivism,” a methodology for developing significant learning experiences and a process for articulating appropriate pedagogy. Constructivism is a teaching and learning strategy that draws on existing knowledge, beliefs, and skills. Within a constructivist approach, learners synthesize new understanding from prior learning and through experiences with new information.
To maintain consistency, each module will follow the “5 E’s” of constructivism as phases of learning to facilitate content, critical thinking and problem-solving:
Learners will begin each module with context. Ethical situations will be presented.
Learners will actively explore connections to ethics, and will be provided with a common base of experiences to develop ethical concepts, processes, and skills.
Learners will be introduced to formal terms, definitions, and explanations for ethical concepts, processes, skills, or behaviors.
Learners will develop deeper and broader understanding of major ethical concepts and new teaching strategies, and refine their knowledge.
Learners will reflect and assess their understanding of key concepts in the module, as well as asked to consider a “call to action.”
There are additional features to aid faculty in their implementation of ethics into their classes. We were intentional in a modular design, so that faculty could download what they want, and to use the content as they want. This includes:
Profiles in Ethics
These are short videos of people of various demographics narrating stories of ethical situations they were challenged by (and were or were not successful).
These are links to research, websites, organizations, online networks and handouts of materials/strategies utilized in modules.
Highlight, Share and Discuss
Highlight text in the modules, share on Facebook or Twitter, and start a discussion thread - a friendly space for educators to interact and network with each other.