Education

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.

Building 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 ethical reflection.)

Begun 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 projects.

During 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.

Later 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.

Service-learning 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.

The 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
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.


 

ALBERT SCHWEITZER
The teachings and philosophy of Albert Schweitzer encourage us to concern ourselves with the relation of humankind to all life - the earth and all its inhabitants. Dr. Schweitzer believed that each one of us could do a little to ameliorate suffering and misery in the world. He believed the "destiny of mankind is to become more and more humane."