Edited by Helen Walkington, Jennifer Hill and Sarah Dyer
Chapter 11: Pedagogies for developing undergraduate ethical thinking within geography
Ethical issues are an example of ‘supercomplexity’, whereby ‘the very frameworks by which we orientate ourselves to the world are themselves contested’ (Barnett 2000, p. 257). Reflecting on ethical issues develops practical, critical thinking skills for dealing with such ‘supercomplexity’, as the frameworks students use to analyse ethical issues may be challenged and are likely to change over time. Yet, despite the wide-ranging potential, teaching ethics is often marginalized and segregated in the geographical curriculum, with ethics frequently being limited to prescriptive research considerations. This chapter offers a holistic approach to how ethical thinking might be embedded within geography programmes through a set of key principles related to: 1) recognizing; 2) reviewing; and 3) responding to ethical issues. This framework enables tutors to work with students to address ethical thinking and problems both inside and outside the curriculum, as well as to prepare students for their futures, including in the graduate-level workplace. It is suggested that encouraging students to reflect on ‘everyday’ ethical problems may sometimes act as a helpful first step prior to addressing ethical challenges within the content and practice of the discipline.
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