Thank-you for registering for the Ethics Olympiad. This unique event offers your school a wonderful
opportunity to help students develop clarity and depth in this vital area of the curriculum. While this
competition is new to Southern Hemisphere there are a growing number of schools developing skills
and proficiencies in how to participate and run an Ethics Olympiad. We believe that prospective
employers will look positively on students who have participated in this sort of event as well as
teachers that promote ethical understanding using this event with their students.
We are writing to registered schools in Australasia to ask you to consider whether your school is
ready to participate with a school in the US. Please consider this for next year, particularly if you have
already participated in an interstate Ethics Olympiad. We recommend that you try out the format
within your own class with your students first and then with another Australasian school before
participating with a US school as these schools are often well trained, sometimes by coaches that are
paid by their school specifically for the task of participating in an Ethics Bowl. (This is the title of the
event in the US). It might be preferable that you first participate with another school nearby you, with
a colleague with whom you already have a working relationship. In which case you will need to pass
on the registration details to them. In any case it is vital that you participate in an Ethics Olympiad with
another local school before you participate in an international Ethics Olympiad. If you need an
introduction then contact the Ethics Olympiad office via a response to this email and we will provide
you with a school and contact details. While most of the US schools involved are upper secondary we
recently trialled an Ethics Olympiad successfully with Year 8 students. If you would like to participate
with a school in the US or with another Australasian school then please contact us with a rough date
and what age group you would like to involve.
Report from Ethics Olympiad between Methodist Ladies’ College in Australia and Austin-East High
School in the US.
On 29th April, an Ethics Olympiad was held between students of Methodist Ladies’ College,
Melbourne, Australia and Austin-East High School, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Our students from MLC formed a team in term 1 (March) and began preparing their positions in the
cases with a mentor. I liaised with David Goff from Austin-East High School to determine which cases
we would be looking at, and then chose a suitable day and time (considering the time difference) to
hold the competition. Due to the differences in school years it was not possible to hold more than one
‘heat’, so we determined that this would be a friendly competition. Nevertheless our students took it
seriously. They enjoyed doing their own research for their positions and debating their cases. The
discussion questions provided provoked thoughtful discussion. Some of the students involved had
participated in the Philosothon which they also loved. This was “better than debating” and they “loved
the amazing opportunity”. The chance to compete against students on the other side of the world was
a key selling point, and worked in well with our school’s desire to become a more internationally-
David and I had skyped twice before the competition to ensure that the technology would work. We
used an external camera/microphone to pick up our students but on the day the microphone wasn’t
strong enough and this caused us some technical difficulties until we solved it (by moving the
students closer to the camera). The use of projectors meant both teams could see each other and
talk directly to each other.
Dr Janette Poulton, lecturer at the School of Education at Melbourne Institute of Technology and
Education Officer for the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools, was our judge in Melbourne.
The moderator for the event was in Tennessee, Jonathan Goff, a local pastor who is a graduate of
Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana. The judges in Tennessee were Aaron McClain, a
philosophy grad from the University of Tennessee who teaches math at Austin-East High School, and
Don Dillard, a Graduate Teaching Associate and PhD student at the University of Tennessee who
was one of the coordinators for the East Tennessee Regional High School Ethics Bowl. Also present
was Ryan Windeknecht, also a Graduate Teaching Associate and PhD student at the University of
Tennessee, who was one of the coordinators for the East Tennessee Regional High School Ethics
Bowl. Dr Poulton was most impressed by the event and enjoyed the judging experience.
For all of us at MLC, this was a positive event we would be keen to participate in again. Our students
thoroughly appreciated the experience, particularly the international nature of it. They rose to the
challenge of competing without notes and working as a team. The structure of the Olympiad most
impressed me, and having to respond to the judges’ questions added an element of intellectual rigour
absent in other debating fields. In the end, I think the qualities the Ethics Olympiad were more about
reason, logic and coherency of ideas, which are far more difficult and more necessary perhaps than
the qualities of persuasion and debating for debate’s sake. We were very pleased when the event
was awarded to MLC.
Report from Ethics Olympiad between Hale School in WA and Austin-East High School in the US.
The mention of Olympic rivalry probably conjures up images of battles in the swimming pool. But an
Ethics Olympiad is a wonderful opportunity for students to engage in interesting ethical discussions
with students from different parts of the country and the world. Last year we conducted successful
trials when we linked up with schools in California and schools in Tennessee.
On Thursday 14th August five Hale boys competed against students at St Patrick’s College in
Townsville online in an Ethics Olympiad heat. Year 11 Hale students put forward their collective
position on the issue of 'forced fatherhood', specifically under what conditions, if at all, should a
government be allowed to limit the number of children parents can have or interfere with one’s liberty
to reproduce? They had to present their position together over seven minutes and then defend or
clarify the position in response to the other team and for the judges. Students from Townville had the
opportunity to critique the Hale boys position and then the boy’s responded to their critique.
The girls from St Patrick’s College then presented their position on the topic of assisted suicide,
specifically under what conditions, if any, should physicians have the right to assist patients with
suicide? The Hale boys then had the opportunity to evaluate their position and the girls then
responded over three minutes. Normally students would then respond to questions from the judges
but unfortunately this did not happen on this occasion due to technical difficulties.
Students described the Ethics Olympiad as fun, engaging and profound. Much of the growth occurs
during preparation – the hours engaged in rational discussion with their team-mates and coaches.
Then the event itself, with its emphasis on civility, clear reasoning, and cooperation, reinforces
dispositions cultivated behind the scenes, ultimately moulding the students’ character for the better. It
was a wonderful experience and we are keen to participate in future Ethics Olympiads.
The following list of schools have registered for the Olympiad and can be contacted via the Olympiad
Austin High School Tennessee
Bentley School California
Bunbury Catholic College Western Australia
Dwight-Englewood School New Jersey
Edmund Rice College New South Wales
Grace Lutheran College Western Australia
Hale School Western Australia
Holy Spirit College Bellambi New South Wales
Holy Spirit College Mackay Queensland
Iona Presentation College Western Australia
John Terry Catholic High School New South Wales
John XXIII College Western Australia
Monte Vista Christian School California
Newman College Western Australia
Raleigh Charter High School North Carolina
Rangi Ruru School New Zealand
Scotch College Victoria
Scotch College Western Australia
St Patrick College Mackay Queensland
St Patrick's College Townsville New South Wales
St Peters Lutheran College Queensland
Trinity Lutheran College Queensland
Wesley College Western Australia
Westborne Grammar Victoria
Helpful tips to schools new to the Ethics Olympiad
1.Organise a date with the other school accounting for the time difference. if there is an 11 hour time
difference then and evening in the US might mean that you would strt the event at 9am Australian
time- The World Clock has a time converter site which is useful- http://www.timeanddate.
2.Moderate a class Olympiad yourself using the guidelines provided on your CD. This can be a fun
way to introduce your students to the format.
3.Find a judge from within your school that is ideally trained in Philosophy and who is prepared to
challenge the students.
4.When you come to run an event with another school find a judge that will be objective and ideally
prepared to visit your school and sit in the room where the event will be held. (It is possible to have
your judge act remotely through Skype or Google +
5.Have a practice link up a week before the event to ensure the technology is good
6.Use microphones as it is important that judges can hear both teams clearly
7.Be strict with timing and provide a warning to students before their time is up.
8.Make sure you you get the students to do a short reflection after the event.
*Please notify us of additional contacts or changes in contact details for your school.
Ethics Olympiad Website- Ethics Olympiad
International Ethics Competition
View on www.ethicsolympiad.org
Recent Ethics Bowl/Olympiad
NC Regional High School Ethics Bowl/Olympiad
NC Regional High School Ethics Bowl
View on www.youtube.com
Preview by Yahoo
Ethics Bowl Informational video- (Please note that the Ethics Bowl uses the same format as the Ethics
High School Ethics Bowl Informational Video
High School Ethics Bowl Informational Video
|2014 Ethics Olympiad