December 2016: The Good Project Newsletter
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Dear Good Project Friends,

We hope that each of you are having a peaceful holiday season. This month, as many families and friends get together to share celebratory meals, we wanted to share some of The Family Dinner Project's tips for food, fun, and conversation. Additionally, we link to a panel discussion on good citizenship held a couple of weeks ago here at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The Good Idea of the Month is "Truth and Goodness," looking at one of Howard Gardner's recent blog posts about the relationship between those two virtues.
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
Sharing Conversations at the Holiday Dinner Table

The winter holidays and the start of the new year are times when people gather with family and friends to share food together. Whether you will be with just a few people or a large group, you may be looking for some tips and shortcuts to make your meal prep easier and your discussions with loved ones more rewarding.

Our partner The Family Dinner Project offers a variety of useful materials to help you this holiday season. Check out these recommendations below:
We also suggest debating one of the dilemmas from The GoodWork Toolkit, talking through one of the exercises from the Digital Citizenship Curriculum from Common Sense that we helped to create, and having a discussion about what you and your family and friends value and why.

Make sure to also take the #DeviceFreeDinner challenge from Common Sense Media and turn off your cell phones, televisions, tablets, and other devices before you sit down to eat.

Time to reflect and connect with others is precious in today's fast-paced world. Make your holiday dinner table a space for open and compassionate dialogue!
What Does it Mean to be a "Good Citizen"?

The Good Project has long been concerned with the meaning of good citizenship (see our studies on civic participation and trust/trustworthiness). In the fallout after the 2016 U.S. election, educators have been consumed with the question of how to bring ideals of good citizenship to the next generation, with calls for civic education prominent in the media and questions lingering about what model citizenship entails.

At the 2016 Association for Moral Education conference, held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the idea of good citizenship was explored in a panel discussion featuring HGSE professor Meira Levinson as moderator and panelists Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg of Tufts, Callie Crossley of WGBH, and Michelle Fine of CUNY.

In the wide-ranging talk, the panelists explore the meaning of citizenship based on their experiences and research, including how the concept of "citizenship" relates to race, religion, and civil rights. Is bringing people of diverse backgrounds together the best way to foster cross-group civic relations? Are our institutions under threat due to widespread mistrust? How can we make choices between unappealing options in civic life? What might be our best path forward? 

Click here to watch a full video of the approximately 90 minute panel discussion.
Good Idea of the Month: 
Truth and Goodness

Are we living in a "post-truth" world? In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries chose "post-truth" as its 2016 Word of the Year following the controversial Brexit decision in the U.K. and election of Donald Trump in the U.S., both of which were driven by emotional appeals rather than facts.

In Howard Gardner's latest post on his blog The Professional Ethicist, he explores the relationship between truth and goodness, asking whether goodness is possible in the absence of agreement on what is true. If true and false statements become equally valid, does the possibility of making a sound ethical judgment disappear? To whom or what sources can we turn to reveal what is true? How do truth and goodness relate to our sense of morality?

Read the post in full here, and ponder these questions as we enter 2017!
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Recent Blog Posts

The Professional Ethicist
Click above to read the latest releases from Howard Gardner's blog The Professional Ethicist, including an analysis of changes and mechanization across the professional landscape and a piece on truth, beauty, and goodness in the U.S. presidential election.
Links of Interest

Giving ‘good’ a rigorous inspection
Takeaways from a symposium on behavioral ethics organized by the Safra Center for Ethics (Harvard Gazette).

Value Sort Tool
Check out this new version of our classic Value Sort activity, which aggregates data from multiple participants for comparison (PZ Tools).

Why America urgently needs to improve K-12 civic education
Low civic participation points to the need for better civic education in U.S. schools (The Conversation).

Does Wall Street Turn Good People Bad?
A new book stresses the need for better ethical standards in the financial professions (The Atlantic).

The Global Search for Education: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the US Election
Howard Gardner's interview with Cathy Rubin about how the three virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness played a role in the 2016 election cycle (CMRubinWorld).

Morality Tales
How can doctors ensure patient confidentiality is respected when sharing stories about on-the-job dilemmas and teaching moments? (Harvard Medicine)

Apply Yourself: Considerations for College Applications
Students applying to college should stop to reflect upon the values of each potential school and what they hope to gain from the experience (The Good Project/HGSE)

Post-Election 2016 Resources
A variety of materials from groups at Project Zero to facilitate thought and discussion following the 2016 U.S. election (Project Zero).

Six Ways to Give the Gift of Generosity to Children and Teenagers
Tips for helping young people share in the spirit of giving (The New York Times).
Copyright © 2016. The Good Project. All rights reserved.

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