All students in year 7 and 8 also study an elective in Ethics. The Ethics elective enables students to become clear thinkers and excellent problem solvers by stretching them to consider timeless ethical dilemmas and philosophical questions, as well as dedicate time to developing the higher-order skills of evaluation and oracy. In addition, students are challenged to become active moral citizens by engaging with ethical issues in their local and global communities and put their ethics into action.
In year 7, students will be introduced to the study of Ethics and Philosophy. Alongside developing their knowledge, the Ethics curriculum will also allow students to dedicate time to focus on developing higher-order skills and get students thinking deeply. In particular, the curriculum is designed promote the skills of evaluation, questioning, oracy and problem solving. Therefore, many of the activities in the lesson involve verbal discussion and debate of complex ideas. In addition, students are encouraged to be reflective thinkers by writing a philosophy diary each lesson.
They will study three units in year 7:
- Term 1: What makes a great thinker and questioner? An introduction to Philosophy over history. The first term will focus on big questions and big thinkers from Socrates to Paley to Rawls. The key skill that will also be developed is how to use questioning to explore ideas, particularly the use of Socratic questioning and dialogue.
- Term 2: What is right and wrong? Making Ethical laws and solving moral dilemmas. The second term will focus on what a moral law is and whether they can always be applied, from lying to stealing to killing. The key skill that will be developed is problem solving.
- Term 3: How can I be ethical in my local community everyday? Ethics in Ealing. The third term will look at the active side to ‘ethics’ and students will encounter ethical issues in their local community. The key skill that will be developed here is applying ideas to real life action to persuade others of issues that matter to them.
In Ethics, students will be assessed by a series of knowledge tests and oracy-based assessments which they will perform in class. For example, performing a philosophical dialogue in the style of Ancient Greek Philosophy or writing a speech to inspire others into action about an ethical issue. Students will track their progress using a skills and knowledge ladder to promote their continual improvement in these challenging skills.
Lesson Prep & Homework
Pupils will be set a short prep task after each lesson. These are designed to consolidate skills and learning from the previous lesson, or to prepare for the following lessons. Once per unit, pupils will be given a longer homework task that they will receive teacher feedback from and will then spend time engaging with this feedback to improve their skills and knowledge. Students are also expected to take their learning outside of the classroom by engaging with the prominent ethical issues which appear in the news and constantly surround them.
Students are encouraged to take part in either the Amnesty International club or Philosophy club which are on offer at lunch time or after school as part of the department’s wider learning offer. These are excellent opportunities to extend their thinking, spark their interests further and inspire others into action about all things ethical and philosophical. In addition, the Ethics curriculum aims to facilitate outreach projects for students to take action in their local community and engage with the rich culture on offer in Ealing and London.