Volume 52, 2008
M Kenneth L. Anderson
Teaching Ethics through Experience
In teaching introductory ethics courses it is a struggle to find ways to ground the theoretical approach in a context accessible to students. Two way to provide this context are to use feature films and service learning. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. Feature films provide students with a consistent
narrative, the filmmaker’s intentions, and identical experiences. Service learning provides students with an open encounter with uncertain meaning, concrete human problems, and at best similar experiences. The benefits and weaknesses of each approach depend upon the objectives of the course. Films allow for greater clarity in interpretation of ethical theory, while service makes possible an appreciation of the ambiguities of ethical actions.