Critical Thinking and Dialogue

This past year, Hawthorn had the opportunity of participating in the University of Toronto’s Junior Ethics Bowl competition.  This competition fosters discussion of controversial topics between high school students. 

This past year, the competition took place online. There were a wide variety of topics such as: monument destruction, polyamorous families, publicity for sale and law and environmental threats. Hawthorn’s Upper School had a team of four students who participated in the competition: Sabrina (grade 9), Maria, Melissa and Radhika (all in grade 11). 

These students spent the weeks leading up to the competition researching their topics, discussing with classmates and friends, presenting their positions to teachers for feedback, and examining different points of view. The teams were judged based on items such as: structure, considering opposing points of view,  evolving their ideas, and so on.

The girls spent a lot of time preparing their topics and were very passionate about what they had prepared. During the competition, they showed great teamwork, such as helping each other when someone got stuck, and supporting each other when someone felt attacked by the judge. Granted, they felt that there was bias among some of the judges, but were appreciative of any feedback. The challenges they faced helped them rethink some of their strategies and improve their critical thinking skills. 

Overall, Hawthorn is delighted  to have participated in this competition. As our motto states: Veritatem Facientes in Caritate (Living the Truth in Charity). And a competition like the Ethics Bowl is supposed to foster this search for the truth via dialogue among people with different backgrounds and ideas. We look forward to participating in this competition this coming year! 


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