Teaching ethics in the classroom


Several teachers in Minnesota are implementing a new leadership curriculum, Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm, which teaches that ethics is more than a list of what not to do and emphasizes going beyond the minimum expected by society.

While many current ethical leadership training programs target high school students, universities and young business leaders, Old Mac’s is one of the only programs with material and study guides specifically geared toward elementary and middle school students.

The program is currently working with teachers in several districts to use the leadership model to help their students learn the value of ethical behavior.

But the value of this program isn’t limited to the students. The same approach could apply to teacher evaluations – a controversial topic among educators. Observational reviews only tell part of the story and student test scores don’t account for the many out-of-classroom influences on a student’s performance. Using a model like Old Mac’s would require independent educators to visit classrooms, spend some time with each teacher and observe the teacher’s methods and how students respond.

Teachers crave input into their performance. They want to grow and become better at their profession. Ethical leadership programs such as Old Mac’s are long overdue. State leaders would be wise to consider their implementation.