Ethics discussion guide


Cooperation & commitment

Objective: To develop the understanding that cooperation and commitment are two key aspects needed from individuals participating in a group.

Discussion: Discuss the importance of cooperation and commitment and how without these it is difficult to achieve shared goals. Discuss how kindness, politeness, and inclusion build a sense of community(referenced in next section, Compassion & Community). Help students recognize the importance of taking responsibility for their own behavior for the benefit of the whole group.

Ask students if they have ever participated in a group in which one of the members was being uncooperative. (Examples could include a family meeting, sports team, band rehearsal, or classroom.) What did that feel like? Then see if any students have ever put their own needs after the needs of a group they were participating in. What did that feel like?

Activity: Exploring cooperation & commitment in groups

Discussion: Even when a group is cooperative and committed the outcome may not be what is expected. Explain that the sole purpose of a community effort is not just to “win” or be successful, although of course that’s important. Ask students what value they have derived personally from participating in a community endeavor besides the common goal of winning or succeeding. (Answers could include a sense of belonging, fun, sharing, offering and receiving respect and generosity.

Point out that the way people react when they meet an outcome they do not expect or desire (such as losing in a competition) is a reflection of their character. (People with a mature character have learned how to respect strengths and weaknesses in themselves and others.) Ask students if they’ve ever participated on a sports team that lost a close game, or perhaps that lost really badly. How did the team act? Explain that it takes time and experience to learn how to lose “gracefully,” but that ultimately good sportsmanship means offering good will towards one’s winning opponents as well as one’s losing teammates.