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Ethical approach to College Olympiad success

26 May 2021

A four-strong team from Christ’s College will compete at the International Ethics Olympiad after winning the South Island title.

Year 13 students George Gearry, Josh Jolly, Jeremy Kinley and Freddie Sudell, all aged 17, combined to hold off schools from different regions this month.

“It is a great opportunity to use our reasoning and debating skills in a constructive manner while promoting discussion on ethical issues,” George says.

“We are all friends and are used to discussing and debating issues. We can complement each other, bringing a mix of different strengths and knowledge to the Olympiad. 

“The Ethics Olympiad lets you interact and articulate yourself in a way that means your point is heard and understood, and can then be critiqued and built on.

“You quickly learn how to talk on your feet and apply reasoning. Most importantly, you improve your communication skills and ability to listen to someone else and understand and be respectful of their point of view.

“You soon realise the value of engagement and discussion around ethical issues.”

George credits Rev. Bosco Peters for “taking us through different ethical frameworks and theories in Year 11” for having contributed to the boys’ success, along with the many opportunities to learn and grow at College.

Describing the Olympiad setting as a “verbal forum”, the boys are presented with an ethical case, and then respond to a question – “taking the ethical issue a step further” – from the judge and work within their team. The opposing team then critiques the response before there are more questions from the judge.

Both the local Olympiad and the international competition on 23 July are being held online because of the pandemic.

However, George says the boys always manage to make their points and connect with other teams in the virtual environment.

A Year 12 team – Bruce Chen, Yusef Elnahas, Isaac Heap and Thimeth Wijesinghe, along with Year 10 student James Phillips – also stepped up for the Olympiad challenge this month.

College first took part in the Olympiad in 2019, taking second spot in the South Island.

The Ethics Olympiad enables students to develop communication, critical thinking and debating skills while tackling ethical issues.

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