This module is a resource for lecturers  

 

Exercises

 

This section contains suggestions for in-class and pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.

This Module is built on a student-centred, experiential teaching method. The aim is to involve students in reflection and discussion of difficult public problems and dilemmas, and make them experience how shared understanding and responsible responses may emerge from dialogue. The reflected experience opens doors to understanding the instruments and process of ethics and integrity management. The ideal group size for this method is 15-20 students. With this size of group, it is still possible to keep even plenary discussions alive and involve everybody in the dialogue. Although it is possible to teach this Module for large classes, it is more challenging to secure active involvement of students. Doing the same exercises with large groups may also take more time, and the lecturer might need to use different types of facilitation techniques. Each exercise is presented as an activity for a group of 15-20 students but at the end of the description of each exercise, we include suggestions for how to facilitate the exercise with large groups.

All exercises in this section are appropriate for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, some of the cases and discussion points used in the exercises may not be appropriate in the given social context. For the possibly sensitive exercises we offer alternatives or lecturers could find their own suitable alternatives.

 

Exercise 1: Reception on values

After a short brain-storming on important values, distribute cards to the students and ask them each to write on the card one value that is the most important value in their life. Ask them to imagine that they are at an opening reception of a new programme, and must introduce themselves to the other students by referring to the value on their card. Their card is their business card. They must go to others and present themselves by explaining their guiding value. After short mutual introductions, they should walk to others, to make new contacts.

Lecturer guidelines

Give the students ten minutes to mix and talk, and then collect the cards and post them on a board or flipchart. Acknowledge variety and similarity of values and ask 'How did it feel to introduce yourself with your guiding value?' Students will probably share the fact that we rarely speak about values. The lecturer can emphasize the importance of speaking about values for creating shared values and mutual trust among people. If students need examples of values, they can draw on the list available on the Mindtools website (scroll to "step 4").

 

Exercise 2: Ethics codes for public servants

Distributes the list of core values and action principles of the national public service code in your country or another national code for public service (see, for example, the public sector codes available on the OECD website and in UNODC's Anti-Corruption Legal Library). Divide students into five groups. Ask each group to work with one core value from Table 1: Public Service Core Values and Action Principles (see Key Issues section of the Module). The groups should identify the values and principles from the code with the corresponding core value they were assigned from Table 1. Finally, the group representatives explain their groups' choices before the larger class.

Lecturer guidelines

The lecturer should explain that many different but equally appropriate groupings and formulations of values and principles are possible. In each specific context, traditions and political culture impact such formulations. When the process of formulation is participatory, this can foster understanding and ownership among stakeholders and thus lead to the best outcomes.

 

Exercise 3: Integrity breaching practices

Ask students to give examples of integrity breaching practices. Show them the video Just Do Your Job! and ask the students to react to the situation presented in the video. Lead the discussion towards the understanding that public servants may not be able to act ethically when their organizations have weak internal controls and low levels of compliance. Capture on a board or flipchart the integrity breaching actions shown in the video. Explain that the aim of public integrity and ethics management is to minimize the risk of such practices.

Lecturer guidelines

The "Just Do Your Job!" video features an obvious corruption case. However, it is important to note that the term "integrity breaching practices" encompasses corrupt practices and other forms of improper use of authority, such as harassment or other indecent treatment of colleagues. These breaches can result from organizational and personal incompetence, and weak internal controls and compliance.

 

Exercise 4: Case studies and structured ethical reflection

Select a case study that presents ethical dilemmas and facilitate a discussion in a manner that allows students to experience effective dialogue and understand how the dialogue shapes interpretations and opinions. For example, have students sit in a horseshoe shape, and place two chairs at the open end of the horseshoe. On each of the two chairs at the open end place a sign with one of the possible solutions to the dilemma discussed. Ask students who wish to speak to move from their own chair to the chair reflecting their selected solution, and from there argue in favour of their solution. They should then move back to their own chair and listen to other students' arguments. Students can speak repeatedly if they have new thoughts, and they can also change their minds and arguments. They should, however, always speak from the chair representing their position. In a large-group setting the discussion could be facilitated in an "aquarium" setting. For example, approximately 15 students perform the exercise described above, and the others sit around as observers.

The lecturer can use for this exercise one of these two case studies, or any other case that presents ethical dilemmas. Relevant case studies can be found on websites such as Ethics Unwrapped.

Lecturer guidelines

The lecturer captures the main arguments on a board or flip-chart, and may group the arguments according to the three main ethical theories: utilitarian, deontology and virtue ethics (these are discussed in Integrity and Ethics Module 1 (Introduction and Conceptual Framework)).

The lecturer should wait as long as it takes for most ethical considerations to be articulated. If some important points are missing, the lecturer may take part in the exercise, adding the point and provoking further discussion among the students. The lecturer could make a quick summary of the arguments.

When arguments are exhausted, the lecturer asks students to reflect on their experience of the discussion and the process (debriefing). The lecturer could record their reflections on a board or flipchart. If positions changed during the discussion, this could be noted during the debriefing.

The debriefing should focus on the format and process. The first debriefing question is: How did you feel in this debate? After students have shared their feelings they should discuss what happened during the exercise. It is important to state that arguments have impacted others' opinions. At the end of the debriefing the students should discuss how the format influenced the discussion.

In summing up, the lecturer reinforces those ideas that are important for understanding the process of ethical management, such as: safe space; structured process; sharing diverse interpretations; understanding others' arguments; discussing potential consequences of decisions; understanding arguments for applying certain values and rules; feeling of inclusion and voice; experiencing emerging consensus, or at least understanding other's standpoint and concerns; more responsible decisions emerging at the end of the process.

The case studies here include additional case specific lecturer guidelines.

 

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