Navigating Moral Dilemmas

Choices Year Five, Session Eight uses our interactive comic book, Marcus’ Story, to challenge young people to navigate moral dilemmas while raising awareness of the behaviours and techniques that might be used to influence them.

Navigating Moral Dilemmas

Session Eight takes the concepts introduced last time, challenging pupils to apply them to a real-world context by more closely examining groups and individuals considered to be ‘predators’ and the techniques they often use to befriend and influence. Such examination promotes an understanding of consequence, posing the question, “Where could all this lead?”, creating these moral dilemmas. As with the previous session, this will help pupils to recognise certain behaviours if they see them. These behaviours could occur within their peer networks (e.g. how pupils choose to treat each other) or come from more serious threats of the wider world (e.g. predatory behaviour such as CSE, radicalisation, or gang recruitment). They’ll think about how such scenarios might come about, the sequence of events that could lead them to be influenced or ‘groomed’ and the potential consequence that might result. This process is essential in further understanding risk and formulating their own, more proactive approach to staying safe.

Why are moral dilemmas useful?

Firstly, as a route into complex discussions, moral dilemmas encourage young people to think really deeply about an issue. In this case, they’ll start by examining the situation that Marcus faces, applying what they’ve learned about his psychological state to unpick why a seemingly simple choice about doing the right thing might weigh heavily upon him. Such ‘moral dilemma testing’ can help young people in several ways:

  1. They help develop moral reasoning: scenarios that require individuals to make ethical judgments develop moral reasoning abilities, which can help young people to navigate complex ethical situations they may encounter in their personal and professional lives.
  2. They can strengthen personal identity: young people can develop strong character traits such as empathy, fairness, and responsibility and incorporate them into their identities. When individuals are presented with ethical dilemmas, they are forced to consider the impact of their actions on others and take responsibility for their decisions.
  3. They help build critical thinking skills: individuals are presented with complex situations to analyse and make informed decisions based on the available information. By engaging in such exercises, young people can develop critical thinking skills, which can be vital in academic, personal, and professional contexts.
  4. They promote ethical decision-making: By engaging in such exercises, young people can develop a sense of moral responsibility and become more conscious of their actions and their impact on others.  

Developing these essential skills, while vital at an individual level to help young people better navigate risk and thrive emotionally and academically, they are equally valuable in a broader community sense. Morally responsible, empathetic young people are critical in the context of our world, the challenges it faces, and the process of finding ways to live better, more enlightened and more fulfilling lives.

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