Friday, April 28, 2017

Teaching Ethics through Novels and Narrative

Business ethics can be tough to teach as many of the ideas don't translate into something the student can remember and relate with. Much of ethics is based on how we feel about ourselves, our values, and the way in which we live and exist in society. According to an article in the Academy of Management Learning and Education, using narrative helps students to remember ethical values when they analyze and discuss those ideas on a deeper level (Michaelson, 2016).

Learning comes from discussion and gaining new insight and understanding. In courses we often just brush over ethical concerns and this leads to an "easy forget" mentality once the class is over. However, by reading ethical novels and having a deeper analysis we are able to help students remember what they learn.

It is important to understand that values are often created through our memories. To help students create memories it is necessary to engage their brains as much as we can. The more they engage their brains, the more memories they create and the more memories they create, the greater the recall.

What is the advantage of this? When students are faced with an ethical challenge in their lives they often fall back on the values they created through their memories. If a story has been embedded deep enough they can look for the answers on how they are supposed to act and what leads to doing the "right thing". Incorporating novels, narratives, and longer discussions through deeper analysis thoroughly embeds these ideas for later use.

Michaelson, C. (2016). A novel approach to business ethics education: exploring how to live and work in the 21st Century. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15 (3).

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