Organising elements

The Ethical understanding learning continuum is organised into three interrelated organising elements:

  • Understanding ethical concepts and issues
  • Reasoning in decision making and actions
  • Exploring values, rights and responsibilities

The diagram below sets out these elements

Organising elements for Ethical understanding

Organising elements for Ethical understanding

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This element involves students in recognising ethical concepts and exploring ethical issues in context. Students identify, examine and give examples of ethical concepts. They discuss, analyse and explore dimensions of ethical concepts in context. In summary, through this element students:

  • recognise ethical concepts
  • explore ethical concepts in context.

This element involves students in reasoning and making ethical decisions, considering the consequences and reflecting on ethical action. They analyse the reasoning behind stances when making ethical decisions and evaluate the intended and unintended consequences of actions in an increasing range of scenarios. Students articulate understandings of a range of ethical responses in social contexts. In summary, through this element students:

  • reason and make ethical decisions
  • consider consequences
  • reflect on ethical action.

This element involves students in the exploration of values, beliefs and principles often used as the basis for making ethical judgments and acting responsibly and with integrity. Students identify values and rights promoted by groups such as peers, communities, corporations, cultural groups and governments through an exploration of ethical issues, the notion of the common good, the place of national values and human rights and universally accepted principles and values.

They examine the ways that values and principles such as freedom, honesty and equality are commonly used in ethical discourse but may be inconsistently applied. Exploring values and principles through authentic situations enables students to make connections with their own surroundings and to understand their impact, especially when values conflict.