The First Canadian High School Ethics Bowl was hosted at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on April 25. Eight High Schools competed during the event discussing a range of moral and philosophical questions, collaborating and engaging critically with each other.
Similar to debates, the Ethics Bowl is based on a more constructive dialogue than the tradition of winning an argument. Students engage in critical thinking and collaboration as teams present a solution or take a position on the matter been discussed. In this way, two teams can agree on a topic and further explain their position adding supporting arguments for the opposite team. The competition includes a wide range of topics going from politics, culture, and environmental issues. After all “the Ethics Bowl is designed to create community through critical conversations about current issues,” explained Angela Cassie, - Senior Vice President of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
During the first Canadian High School Ethics Bowl (CHSEB) twelve groups of students participated during the two-day event organized by the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties (MARL) in partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, The Collaborative and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
The first day of the event the Ethical Games of the Mind prepared students for the competition taking place the following day. Engaging in conversations about Indigenous topics as well as learning about democracy in Canada and how they can take action, students developed skills that will help them identify and solve ethical issues on their daily lives. As Jada, a Grade 8 Student explains of her experience with the activities, “I learned about the Indian Act, about what pronoun people like to be referred to and I also learned about people’s rights.”
The set of activities during day one of the event was planned to present and introduce ethical problems and scenarios for students feeling anxious about the competition the following day. In this way, students had the opportunity to approach ethical questions and topics, an opportunity to practice for the competition.
On April 25, the CHSEB started at nine in the morning with the first round of questions. The competition combines fun and educational experience. The unique, collegial dynamic of an Ethics Bowl encourages students to teach and learn from one another as they take part in courageous conversations about ethical issues. MARL is committed to facilitating dialogue about human rights and civil liberties to build an informed and engaged community. We believe that this work is essential with students and young people across Canada to achieve MARL's vision of a society where diversity is valued, liberties are respected, and rights are lived.
As a human rights organization, we are proud to present students with the world of ethics, because "discussing ethics is discussing the future of the world," as Hannah – a Manitoba high school student-, explains. Some of the topics touched during the CHSEB was free speech, gun control, carbon policy and automation of work, among others. All these conversations are the base to create responsibility in our youth they are “the leaders of today. Opportunities like these shape your critical thought - which is needed now more than ever,” said Senator Marilou McPhedran during the event.
After a long day of competition, the winner of the event was Kelvin High School and the runner up Stonewall Collegiate. We look forward to meet everyone at the sixth Manitoba High School Ethics Bowl coming this fall 2019.