From debating free will to discussing the ethics of building new societies, the classes deal with big-picture issues for students in grade five and six.
Calare Public School is one of the first schools in the region to expand its ethics classes to encompass all three levels, which covers all primary school grades including earlier grades.
Younger students focus on core skills like listening to others and giving reasons behind thinking.
However, schools all over Orange are in desperate need for more volunteers so that more schools are able to offer the classes, which can be taken instead of religious education classes.
Calare Public School P&C president Theresa Armstrong is one of the facilitators in several school across Orange.
The roles are volunteer positions, with about 20 facilitators in Orange – however, Mrs Armstrong says as many as 100 more are needed to give students across the city access to the classes, which she said are “fantastic” opportunities to teach students critical thinking.
“Most schools aren’t able because we don’t have the volunteers, we struggle to get volunteers, it’s half an hour for each class but a lot of people don’t know what it takes and what it is and the value of it,” she said.
She also said schools were at the mercy of availability from volunteers, with facilitators needed at the same time as religion classes.
“They’re learning how to communicate with each other they’re learning how to discuss and debate logically and critically.”
She said the discussions and keys to thinking critically were especially important in the age of social media.
“They’re learning how to communicate with each other they’re learning how to discuss and debate logically and critically.
“We’re aiming to teach them how to have a discussion and whether or not your discussion is based on opinion – is that something you think or know and can you prove it?” she said.
Calare Public School student Adam Thomas said he enjoyed the change of pace from usual classwork, and found them useful.
“It’s been very fun, it talks about topics you don’t get to talk about in your normal classes,” he said.
“One of my favourite topics is fatalism vs determinism and if you’re always going to be a bus driver or if there’s something you can do to change that and follow your dreams and be a football player.”
Contact your local school or call 8086 7752 for more information on volunteering.
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