ROSELLE – Students put their debate skills to the test as they joined a panel of area business owners for a forum on general and business ethics. Both “teams” answered a series of questions regarding ethical dilemmas and engaged in a discussion about the merits of their positions.
“I guarantee that everyone in this room will be in a situation where you will have to make ethical decisions,” said Scott Wands, service director of the Roselle-Roselle Park Rotary Club.
The idea to hold an ethics forum occurred when Principal Karen Tanner-Oliphant attended a Rotary Club function. She met with service director Scott Wands who suggested Abraham Clark High School host the Rotary Ethics Seminar this year. Along with principal Oliphant, the event was organized by teachers Ian Collis and Jaime Condrack.
“I think the students gained a lot from this experience,” said Collis, who teaches 11th grade English at Abraham Clark High School. “We asked teachers to recommend high performing 11th and 12th graders for the event. I’m really pleased that our students had an opportunity to critically think as they approached these ethical issues,” added Collis.
Both teachers hoped that the students who participated in debating local business leaders took away important lessons regarding ethics. “Ethical debate allows students to see the value of ethics in their lives and professional experience but also allows for experience in dealing with situations which may not have a concrete black and white answer,” said Condrack. “The subjectivity of the discussion allowed our students to see how their own decisions can, and perhaps should, be shaped as they leave school and enter a new field of endeavor.”
Both teachers stated that young people should evaluate their decisions when tackling issues that affect their daily experiences. Students received the opportunity to engage in professional, intelligent, and analytical conversations to determine how ethical or unethical a simulated situation was. “This event hopefully will give students experience in research techniques and well as analytic argumental skills which can be replicated when they leave school,” said, Condrack.
“Ethics are the morals that guide us. It’s imperative that we help our students refine for themselves their own ethical values. It won’t be long before they’re in the business world and have to make tough decisions. I hope this event helped them in this regard,” said Collis.
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