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Philosothon and Ethics Olympiad Student Training

On Wednesday, 25 July, the following Year 10 and 11 students attended the Philosothon and Ethics Olympiad at Scotch College: Matilda Baker, Lily Dickenson, Adrienne Duray, Sophie Gurney, Angelina Haj, Gabrielle Mannix, Madeleine Mitra, Sasha Pittorino, Velentina Boulter, Jade Devlin, Claire Garwoli, Yasmin Howard, Rebecca Hwang, Teresa Meese, Ashley Moran, Claire Sullivan, and Olivia Wilhelm.  They were accompanied by Ms O’Keefe and Ms De Luise.

A Philosothon is concerned with big questions at the edge of science and reason and explores philosophical and ethical issues orally. Schools that attended included Camberwell Girls, MacRobertson Girls High, McKinnon Secondary, MLC, Albert Park, Aquinas, Scotch and Siena College.  A community of inquiry aims to encourage learners to think critically, collaborately, caringly, and creatively. To do this, the students were divided into groups of ten, presented with a stimulus or philosophical discussion topic, which developed into a framework for dialogue after they had thought about their own philosophical question.

After lunch, the students were divided into groups of ten (two teams) to undertake an Ethics Olympiad. They were each given a case study and five minutes to prepare their presentation with each team responding alternatively. A judge independently scored each team.

Overall, the day offered a unique opportunity for academically gifted students to be inspired to undertake philosophical and ethical inquiry. They were provided with many opportunities to further improve their critical thinking and to think systematically and rigorously about contemporary issues.  They are now looking forward to the opportunity to participate in an Ethics Olympiad with students from around Australia and later on, around the globe through Skype.

Student Reflections:

The Philosothon and Ethics Olympiad was an engaging experience that made me think about ethics and the importance of an ethical principle. We learnt about different ethical philosophies and the difference between them. I really enjoyed the Ethics Olympiad at the end of the day where we were able to debate about different topics with members of different schools.
Sophie Gurney

Coming out of the excursion, we felt very inspired and we are looking forward to being able to participate in our own ethics Olympiad. The day consisted of a morning where we participated in a community of inquiry and learnt how to effectively discuss and give reason to our opinions. In the afternoon we delved deeper into ethics and even ran our own ethics Olympiad together with another school. Overall the day enriched our learning and the skills we have to reason with which we can use throughout our schooling.
Yasmin Howard and Velentina Boulter (Year 11 Philosophy students)

 It was interesting to discuss different ethical and moral dilemmas with students from other schools in a different environment.  It was also beneficial to understand how an ethics Olympiad works and how it is similar and different to what we’ve experienced in class discussions and in debates. The content included and the resource pack we received were also very extensive.
Olivia Wilhelm (Year 11 Philosophy)

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