As the pilot year of our Ethics in Action program nears its end, the Ethics Lab team and our partners at Kent Place School are reflecting on the year’s successes and failures, looking ahead to future iterations. The core belief that motivates the program remains unchanged: a creative, ethical mindset in students is one of the best things we, as educators, can equip them with in today’s world. We believe the best way to do that is through scaffolded engagement with complex contexts in a project-based, design-driven learning environment.

Our pilot year has taught us that there is also a valuable professional development opportunity for teachers to gain training in design as a new tool to facilitate student learning. Teachers are an integral part of the program and that’s why, in our next iteration, we plan to implement very strong professional development and teacher training for faculty entering the program. We hope to equip teachers with toolkits and curricula in practical ethics, design methods, and specific content knowledge that they can then take back to their home schools and leverage to educate students more effectively.

The Ethics in Action program aims to export the dynamic studio environment of Ethics Lab to high schools across the country. This expansion of the Lab’s portfolio to target a younger demographic flows naturally from our undergraduate educational efforts. In addition, the program builds on the Kennedy Institute’s pioneering High School Bioethics Curriculum Project (HSBCP) launched in 1998/1999. The HSBCP offered interdisciplinary bioethics teaching workshops to high school teachers across the curriculum. Through these workshops and follow-up the HSBCP offered teachers curriculum and teaching support, education in contemporary bioethics issues, and ongoing research assistance and resource development through the Institute’s Bioethics Research Library.