Ethics discussion guide


Codes of conduct

Objective: To understand the importance of rules and codes of conduct in helping us stay ethical, and to recognize that ethical behavior extends beyond merely following rules.

Discussion: Discuss the importance of having a reference—or code of conduct—when you need to make an ethical choice. Help students identify people they can go to when they need guidance, when there is no specific reference for them to follow. Discuss how, while rules and regulations are based on acceptable behaviors, they cannot include all behaviors or situations. Ask students to give feedback on how they think a group or community code of conduct can help protect its members and ensure a cooperative environment. (If there are consequences for disrespectful or harmful behaviors spelled out, this can deter individuals from committing harmful or disrespectful acts.)

Think about it: If you don’t already have one, help students create their own classroom code of conduct, which should include the consequences for breaking the rules. If you do have one, review it together as a class, and discuss how each item on the list relates to the concepts discussed in this website.