The Interfaith Family School
120 Desplaines Street
Chicago, IL 60661

8th Grade
Ethical Decision-Making and Social Justice

We parents all say that we want to teach our children morals and ethics. Indeed, as they face their teenage years and look forward to the adult world—ripe with poor choices and corporate scandals— we need to now as much as ever. Ethics are choices, reasonable choices, mindful of the welfare of others, fostering rules for civility, and thus make the world a better place to live. Yet for this group, we need find ways to target and interest young adolescents. How? We first find the real life moral and ethical dilemmas that the students are interested in exploring. We set forth a framework for a moral decision-making model. After we do that, instead of rotating the parent-teachers, we invite experts who want to share their specialization in these areas. We give more airtime to the student discussions by stretching out the allotted time into two-week lesson units on each topic. They are also eager to celebrate their achievements, so the year builds toward an adult education session when they are the panel of experts who share what their years in Family School have meant to them, followed by their graduation ceremony.

Sample Classes:
Group discussions on adolescent coming-of-age issues, making ethical choices, determining God’s role in our lives, plus selected topics presented by outside speakers (identified by the students in an interest survey at the beginning of the year). Examples include: homelessness, medical ethics, death penalty, immigration, and others.