August 2016: The Good Project Newsletter
View this email in your browser
Dear Good Project Friends,

This month, we share glimpses of two events that took place this summer in Cambridge: 1) two classes on our Value Sort Activity at the annual Project Zero Classroom institute; and 2) plenaries on the 3 Es of engagement, ethics, and excellence at the Global Citizens Initiative's Youth Summit. The Good Idea of the Month is "Dilemmas - Not Just Hypothetical."
If you have ideas for future newsletters, would like your own work to be highlighted, or want to pass along feedback, please email Danny Mucinskas at
The Good Team
2016 Project Zero Classroom Institute Holds Sessions on The Good Project's Value Sort Activity

From July 18-22, 2016, Project Zero held its annual Project Zero Classroom summer institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This year's 340 participants came from educational institutions around the United States and from 20 other countries. Through presentations and specialized interactive mini-courses, attendees learned about the concepts and applications that have originated from Project Zero's decades of research, including slow thinking, making learning visible, and cultivating global perspectives in pedagogical practice.

In two mini-course sessions called "The Good Project: Ideas & Tools for a Good Life," facilitated by HGSE advanced doctoral student Alexis Redding, participants used a selection of tools from The Good Project website to think about practices for both personal and professional growth. The central activity was The Good Project's Value Sort, where participants were challenged to rank 30 values in order of priority in their daily lives. As participants spread out across the classroom floor, they laughed and groaned as they navigated the final choice—to narrow the pool to just two values that best represented what they want to strive for every day. To facilitate group reflection, participants then pooled their answers to create a Word Cloud in real time (using software, a tool many educators were eager to bring back to their classrooms!) and to discuss both the most prominent values and those that were missing.

After engaging debriefs, each class collaborated on the design of a series of activities and events using a value sort activity that could be brought back to their schools. Several administrators honed in on the idea of using the sort at the start of the school year to help define a shared set of priorities. Classroom teachers were eager to adapt the activity for other age groups, from photo-based values cards that were proposed for young children to college-focused themes for high school juniors and seniors. The two groups articulated creative and innovative applications that they will take with them into the 2016-17 school year.

Check out the activity for yourself! Click here to access the Value Sort.
Global Citizens Initiative Youth Summit Brings Engagement, Ethics, and Excellence to Students

What do engagement, ethics, and excellence mean to you? Who do you look to as exemplars of these values? How can you make sure that you bring these elements to each aspect of your work and life?

These were some of the implicit questions that 28 students considered at this year's Youth Summit organized by the Global Citizens Initiative, an organization dedicated to fostering young people with cross-cultural fluency and moral dispositions. These students come from countries around the world to attend a 1-week program in Cambridge, MA, to learn about how leaders can have a positive impact on society.

In three morning discussions, the group examined The Good Project's own three elements of Good Work: excellence, ethics, and engagement. In each case, a faculty speaker highlighted a case that they believed represented or related to one of these qualities. A summary of each session is below:
  • Engagement was described in the story of Patrick Lydon, who runs Camphill Ballytobin in Ireland, a self-suffiicient community designed for children with special needs and learning differences. Students reflected on Patrick's passion, empathy, and commitment and debated the meaning of engagement and whether it is always good to follow a passion.
  • Ethics was presented through the lens of crafting diverse, fair communities and sound leadership as a way to promote wisdom and justice in a world often gripped by fear and violence, with the women's movement in Liberian politics and peacemaking efforts in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina as powerful studies of how to promote healing in situations once dominated by unethical behavior.
  • Excellence was illustrated by examining the practice of redlining and discriminatory housing and lending policies that excluded many people in post-World War II America based on racial identity in both urban and suburban areas. By trying to correct some of the lingering legacies of this discrimination, the United States can strive for a more excellent and inclusive future.
Through each of these talks, the diverse group was able to witness the real-life ways that engagement, ethics, and excellence come alive in creative ways for social good.

Find out more about the Global Citizens Initiative by visiting their website.
Good Idea of the Month: 
Dilemmas - Not Just Hypothetical

As the prospect of driverless cars on our roads becomes more and more of a feasible reality due to advances in technology, a lot of the debate surrounding this new development has fixated on its potential to present us with troubling dilemmas that resemble a classic thought experiment: the trolley problem. One of the most commonly-presented dilemma scenarios in academia, it concerns a trolley headed down a track at high speed towards five people unable to move out of the way. Next to you is a lever that can change the course of the trolley, but there is one person on the alternate track who would be hit instead. Would you do nothing and allow the trolley to kill five people, or would you pull the lever and direct the trolley to kill one person?

While the trolley problem is entirely theoretical, we see that it has a very real analog in the questions that driverless cars raise. For example, if a driverless car is heading towards a group of people, should the onboard computer make a decision to drive the vehicle out of the way of the crowd and kill its occupants?

Of course, each one of us faces dilemmas in life in which the "right" course of action is far from clear. These types of situations are commonplace in many roles. Should a doctor subject their patient to treatments they may not immediately need in order to increase the likelihood that the patient receives an organ transplant sooner? Should a journalist visiting a foreign country break from his or her role as a passive observer to help a government protester flee and avoid persecution? These questions may not be easy to answer, but when we encounter them, it is important to pause, consider carefully, and reflect afterward.

What kinds of dilemmas do you face in your own work and life? What strategies do you use to navigate them?
Visit Our Website
Recent Blog Posts

Bloomsburg University’s Joan Miller and Mary Katherine Duncan on “Good Work”
Colleagues at Bloomsburg University talk about the school's continuing Good Work Initiative and related endeavors .

What Makes a Good Teacher? First-Year Reflections

Victoria Nichols, a first-year teacher in Los Angeles, describes some of the challenges and insights from her first year of teaching middle school students.

The Professional Ethicist
Click above to read the latest releases from Howard Gardner's blog "The Professional Ethicist," including whether philanthropy can be a profession and the role of disinterestedness in journalism.
Links of Interest

New Video: Overview of Good Work
We share a video summary of the Good Work Project and some of its most important findings and implications.

How to Take Digital Citizenship Schoolwide During the 2016-17 School Year
Strategies for making digital citizenship education a priority for your school (EdSurge).

12 Ways Your Company Can Excel Ethically
Experts offer tips on how to nurture an ethical culture in your own company or business (Forbes).

Why We Should Teach Empathy to Preschoolers
Golestan Education is one organization helping teach empathy to young people, which evidence shows increases positive social behavior (Greater Good Science Center).

Students' Broken Moral Compasses
A call for renewed focus on character and ethics in American public schools (The Atlantic).

Ethics Are Part of Being 'College- and Career-Ready'
A deep understanding of ethics, outside of directives about right and wrong, helps young people understand complex situations in their futures at school and in life (Education Week).

An ethical dilemma when the cause of death is suicide
Should a journalist print a person's cause of death as suicide against the wishes of their family? (Minnesota Public Radio)

In Child's Play, renowned playwright tackles medical ethics
Short and powerful plays about medical ethics inspire discussion in Singapore (TODAYonline).

Teaching Ethics
An analysis of the teaching of ethics, with an emphasis on business, concludes that students need the tools to navigate ethical dilemmas (Inside Higher Ed).

What Makes Teams Tick
Emotional and personal connections between collaborators are more important than one might think (Harvard Magazine).

Conversation Starters from The Family Dinner Project
Check out these thought-provoking ways to start a conversation over a meal at your next family dinner, brought to you by our partner The Family Dinner Project.
Copyright © 2016. The Good Project. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
13 Appian Way, Longfellow Hall 234, Cambridge, MA 02138

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp