Youth Ethics Education Program
Albert Schweitzer's life and writings are invaluable resources
for students and teachers to explore ethical decision-making
and shared values of respect and responsibility. The Quinnipiac
institute's youth education programs seek to increase the
understanding and practice of ethical thinking in young people
through experiential learning and community service.
Ethical Communities Through Service-Learning
As a preventive response to the growing problem of youth
violence and intolerance, the Albert Schweitzer Institute
at Quinnipiac University and The School for Ethical Education
(SEE) have developed a series of youth workshops called
“Building Ethical Communities Through Service-Learning”.
(“Service-learning” is characterized by community
improvement projects that are designed and implemented by
young people and teach transferable life skills including
in 1998, the interactive, day-long events bring together
diverse groups of Connecticut elementary, middle and high
school students, teachers and parents to discover shared
community values, to learn and practice ethical leadership,
and to design and implement student-led community service
workshops, students cooperatively develop a list of values
they would like to see emulated in their schools and communities.
They discuss real-life ethical dilemmas and concepts of
service-learning are introduced as responses to these dilemmas
and as ways to act on their list of shared values.
in the workshops, student-led school teams select a service-learning
project idea and propose concrete steps for successful planning,
implementation and evaluation. Students and teachers take
their project ideas back to their schools or youth organizations
for final design work, recruitment of other participants
and implementation in their communities. The staffs of the
Institute and SEE provide ongoing guidance to the student-led
groups to assist them in completing their projects.
projects initiated to date have included tutoring and mentoring
programs, the development of a school recycling program,
a senior citizen oral history project, and volunteer work
at a soup kitchen. Follow-up evaluations indicate that participating
students discover shared values, practice teamwork and ethical
decision-making skills, and incorporate academic goals into
their community improvement projects.
model workshop structure and curriculum materials are being
further designed and tested for practical adaptation by
individuals and organizations throughout the country.
Lessons in Humanity are supplemental curriculum materials
for elementary and secondary classrooms that combine age-appropriate
information about and by Albert Schweitzer with exercises
intended to develop ethical understanding and decision-making
skills. Professional educators, in collaboration with the
Institute, have designed these teacher guides and accompanying
materials so that they can be easily integrated into existing
classroom subjects and routines.