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Kaela’s cluster preparing for the Ethics Bowl.

Right. Wrong. It Depends. To me, these make up the three way junction at the end of the ethics road. On this journey, I believe the scholars found a better definition for ethics and learned why it was important.

Ethics has to do with what is right or wrong.” “Ethics has to do with people’s moral beliefs.”  “Ethics consist of standard behaviors that is accepted by society.” These are some answers I got from my cluster as we prepared for the annual Ethics Bowl that took place during the second week of the program. The Ethics Bowl is an exciting, competitive tournament aimed to model the best methods of reasoning in practical and professional ethics. The scholars gained a valuable experience of analyzing two cases and participating in an ethical discussion. One of the things that stood out to me, was how the Ethics Bowl was different to a debate. The scholars were asked to take a position on 1)Whether nations, especially those who contribute the most to pollution, should be required to take in climate change refugees from regions facing rising sea levels and 2) The creation of a new charter for a Finnish School of Chicago, as a member of the Chicago Board of Education. Unlike a debate, the scholars took part in more of a back and forth discussion in the support of their positions. This required listening to key points of the opposing team and not only disagreeing politely, but acknowledging the points of agreement. In addition, asking intuitive questions for clarification and support.

I admired the format, rules, and process of the Ethics Bowl. It allows one to be aware and to give thoughtful consideration to different viewpoints. To be successful, having a plethora of different viewpoints is essential to deciding the most ethical conclusion. During the preparation time, I asked each scholar in my cluster to state their position with reasons, for both cases. We then collectively decided on pros and cons for each case. These tactics seemed to aid the scholars tremendous as the competed. They were able to give insightful responses, specific to ethical considerations asked by their opponents and the judges.

The theme, “STEM Diplomacy” was definitely present throughout the Ethics Bowl. Scholars learned how to disagree diplomatically and with respect, a life skill they should always carry with them.

 

Kaela Gerald - Program Instructor

Kaela Gerald

Kaela is pursuing a Co-terminal degree in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. She is from the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia.

Kaela enjoys going to the beach, dancing and cooking. She hopes to make a difference in the world through advances in science and engineering, mentoring and helping others. As a program instructor, for summer 2014, she felt truly inspired by all the IIT Boeing Scholars and staff.

 

Program Instructor, Kaela Gerald, writes about the Ethics Bowl