Modeled after the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB), the goal of the NJ Middle School Ethics Bowl “is to teach students how to think through ethical issues together, as fellow citizens in a complex moral and political community.”
Twelve teams from eight schools from across New Jersey are participating in the inaugural bowl: All Saints Episcopal Day School, Hoboken, NJ; Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ; Far Brook School, Short Hills, NJ; Gill St. Bernard’s School, Gladstone, NJ; The Hudson School, Hoboken, NJ; Kent Place School, Summit, NJ; Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, Princeton, NJ; and The Willow School, Gladstone, NJ.
An Ethics Bowl is not a debate between the teams; instead, it’s a collaborative event during which students discuss their understanding of the ethical issues presented in each case presented. They defend whichever position they think is correct, provide each other with constructive criticism, and win by demonstrating that they have thought rigorously and systematically about the cases and engaged respectfully and supportively with all participants. Data from NHSEB surveys show that this event teaches and promotes ethical awareness, critical thinking, civil discourse, civic engagement, and an appreciation for multiple points of view.
“At Kent Place, we teach ethics electives in our Middle School, so I know that middle-schoolers are able to understand the complexities of ethical dilemmas,” said Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School. “The fact that there are 12 teams from around the state competing in this inaugural bowl is a testament to the fact that middle school students are ready for the challenge! This year's bowl will be the first of many, and will eventually extend to states all over the country. Stay tuned for a National Middle School Ethics Bowl in the not-to-distant future!”
This event is being organized by The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School whose mission is to promote the practice of ethical decision-making in primary and secondary school communities (www.kentplace.org/ethics
). Special thanks to Roberta Israeloff, Executive Director of the Squire Family Foundation, for her insights and inspiration, and to the Foundation for sponsoring the event.
For more information about the Middle School Ethics Bowl, visit www.msethicsbowl.com