... coming soon
The presenters also gave a definition of ethics as follows: a set of standards for conduct. They are based on our morals and values and affect all areas of our life as could be seen by the dilemmas given to the groups.
The three aspects that the presenters chose to focus on were education, sports, and advertising. In education, the main issue that was discussed was whose responsibility it is to teach ethics to students--the school, parents, or community. It was determined that the job is that of all three. The school system should provide examples of ethical behavior and teachers should lead by example. They are always being watched by their students, and their behavior is observed and sometimes imitated. We also discussed if there should be a set curriculum for ethics or if it is just something that is learned by observation.
The sports arena is the next area we discussed concerning ethics and this led to a rather interesting and somewhat charged discussion of the Cubs game where the fan 'interfered' with the ball hit to [left] field that could have been an out. For the most part, we all agreed we would have done the exact same thing if we were in that particular situation. The idea of loyalty was related to this conversation and what it means to be a loyal athlete as well as fan. Another issue that is very relevant to sports is the notion of academic fraud in high school and college. There has always been the issue of doctoring grades in order to allow athletes to play. Is this ethical behavior? Is winning really everything?
The final area of discussion was advertising which was demostrated by an example of an email received by one of the presenters. He had received an unwanted email and when he went to unsubscribe from the list was given the run around and could not actually do so. The discussion then went to the codebook and the actual laws of advertising and what and where people can advertise. Examples: no alcohol or cigarette ads in certain forms of media. The discussion of this topic concluded with the advise that we need to be able to protect ourselves from unethical advertisers.
As far as a definition of ethics, it was suggested that they are a set of standards that guide our conduct and affect the decisions we make everyday. In turn, these decisions often affect a variety of other people, which is why this is such a hot topic. It is not only difficult to determine what is right and wrong, but also to determine who teaches children the guidelines to follow. Is it parents? Schools? The community? Actually, each one of these plays a role in enforcing proper behavior for children. I think it all begins at home, but is a continual learning process with each activity in which we participate, even as adults. We are more likely to develop ethical behavior when there is repetition and reinforcement in our daily lives. Adults must make conscious decisions about there actions and thereby set the proper examples for younger ones or peers to follow. We learn best by watching others' behavior. Even if were told something 100 times, it wonC-t make a difference if that's not how things actually happen. It's important to remember "actions speak louder than words." Also, rather than following specific rules for specific situations, we should all develop a solid set of values and use these to make the right decision.
Sports and advertising were also areas discussed. It was suggested that many of the same guidelines mentioned earlier should be followed in these situations because our values should flow into every aspect of our lives. In sports, sportsmanship, fairness, respect, and honesty are just a few key values that should be followed. It is natural to pursue excellence and to some people, winning is everything. But, this can be taken too far sometimes and while it's important to be dedicated, one shouldn't seek to win at all costs. In relation to advertisements, it is important to learn what the laws entail and what rights we have in different situations. There's a fine line that can sometimes be crossed in an effort to advertise products or services, so we must be conscious of our rights and responsibilities.
My particular group read about a husband trying to get his dying wife the medicine she desperately needs. The issue however is that the couple can't afford the money that it would take to buy the drug but promises to repay the money owed when he can. The druggist refuses, saying that he spent the money to discover the drug and wants to be fully compensated. Does the druggist deserve to be stolen from? Our group discussed this issue and felt that legally, no one deserves to be stolen from but agree that if we were placed in these circumstances, we would steal the drug, knowing that if caught we would be sent to jail. Although the consequences are great, we felt that spending time is jail, would be less than loosing a spouse.
After the group discussions, the presenters addressed ethical questions as they relate to three different areas; education, sports, and business. In education, ethical grey areas might occur when asking the question whose responsibility is it to teach ethics; the schools, community, or parents. The presenter mentioned that although this area leaves some in question, the school definitely plays a role in a student's ethics for several reasons. First, students spend more than 900 hours at school, and they are learning by what they see, hear, and experience. The presenter stressed that it is important that a teacher realize that he/she are always sending messages and reinforcing them by their actions, which makes it vital that teachers focus on why a solution is right or wrong. She states that teachers need to remember that their everyday actions speak louder than words and that their positive example will benefit the school and ultimately the society.
The second ethical area was addressed in sports. This presenter mentioned a recent debate that occurred in baseball when a Chicago Cubs fan reached out to grab a ball that may have stopped a player from catching the ball and forcing an out on the opposing team. He stressed that ethics are difficult because it is often hard to say whether that action was right or wrong, but he does point to four characteristics of good sportsmanship; fairness, honesty, obedience to rules, and compassion. This presenter continues his section by addressing another example of ethics in baseball; taunting. He stated that often time's players make unethical decisions as a result of pressure of the moment or the influence of drugs. This response is common but tends to be frowned upon because people believe that athletes should be a good role model. The presenter concludes by quoting the results of a study of moral development which found that males scored less than females, athletes become less moral with age and that athletes in general were less more than non-athletes.
The third issue addressed was the issue of ethics in business. This presenter presented a list of advertising rules that he felt were often violated. For instance, in advertising the creator can not put something that is false, misleading, or deceptive. Also rates, terms, and conditions must be clearly and correctly stated. Secondly, he pointed out that automatic dialing announcing a device can only be ten seconds but often times is much longer.
The group concluded by pointing out that ethical decisions are made daily and that often times what may be ethical by one person, may not be to another.
The other groups had dilemmas such as loaning money to a friend, a coach learning about an inelligible player after the game is played, an inmate in a concentration camp, church posters presenting religious beliefs, and bar advertisements with scantily clothed females. The discussion went on and on. The class had different views of each and displayed different interpretations of ethics (values and morals we hold).
During the sports portion of the presentation, the class discussed sportsmanship. What is considered good sportsmanship (ethics) of a team/player? Pursuit of Excellence, Creativity in play, Victory over opponent, and Loyalty to the team and to the coach. While it was so convenient with the playoffs for the penants going on (or wrapping up, the ideas of the misfortunes during the Cubs games and the Yankees games were thoroughly discussed.
During the advertising portion of the presentation, we were shown false advertisements. Laws that have been somewhat overlooked in telephone calls, and advertisements linked to SPAM.
The education portion of ethics, I found the most interesting and could personally relate to. It is an ongoing debate who should teach such values and morals to students. Should it be the community, the school, the parents? However, the family unit is not what it used to be. Most parents are working outside of the home and may not have time to teach all of the values. In school, it is inevitable to teach values and morals. Just reading a story gives students a lesson in life. The students may be taught by the curriculum or through example (character development, messages being sent, talk about values, stories, don't make rules- value values!, actions speak louder than words.)
All in all, I believe that the presentations went very well. I learned some of the ideas of ethics and got to express my ideas in a small group.