LO7 – Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

Students show awareness of the consequences of choices and actions in planning and carrying out CAS experiences.

The student:
– recognizes ethical issues
– is able to explain the social influences on one’s ethical identity
– takes into account cultural context when making a plan or ethical decision
– identifies what is needed to know in order to make an ethical decision
– articulates ethical principles and approaches to ethical decisions
– shows accountability for choices and actions
– is aware of the consequences of choices and actions regarding self, others involved and the community
– integrates the process of reflection when facing an ethical decision
– shows awareness of the potential and varied consequences of choices and actions in planning and carrying out CAS experiences.

I think that when we plan out our CAS experiences this is often the learning outcome that we forget to consider, or purposely send to the back of our minds. Going on CAS trips, we try our hand at helping out for a week, without really considering what the long term impact of our work may be, positive or negative. I have been exposed to voluntourism for a large portion of my life, with my family often taking me overseas to help build schools or houses over a holiday. At first it feels nice, knowing we were helping out people in need, but it wasn’t until later CAS trips when I begun to question if what we were doing does more harm than good.

I went to Sabah, Malaysia for CAS week. For the service component of the trip, we went to a school, and paved a road leading up to it, as well as built a fence around it to keep vermin and livestock away. On the way there, I overheard the teachers discussing our work area with the guide. The guide mentioned that the site we we were working at was a new one, that they had only started working with that year. When the teacher asked why they didn’t stay with a previous site they had been working with for years, they said it was because the community there had grown overly dependent on volunteer services- even taking advantage of them- which was obviously not the ideal outcome of a service project.

Since that day I learned to be more wary of the ‘services’ we were giving to the people of a community, while trying better as well to ensure I did not leave any lasting negative impact on the people there. I tried to be as respectful as possible, knowing that I had inadvertently crossed some culturally disrespectful boundaries I shouldn’t have in the past. Even if I couldn’t speak the local language, I learned to smile and say hello if children walked past, fascinated by our work, or perhaps even simply by the presence of visitors. I tried to be more aware of if the communities looked like they disliked outsiders, or had already developed overdependence on voluntourism, which luckily did not happen on my trips.

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