Ethics education plays an integral role in the fostering of European values. However, ethics is studied in European secondary schools within a wide variety of curricula, ranging from philosophy (such as in The Netherlands and Slovenia) and civics (such as in Slovakia), to ethics as an independent curriculum (such as in Germany). This fragmentation of curricula, along with a fragmentation of pedagogical methods and goals, inhibits the opportunities for exchanges of best practices and mutual learning. The Community of Ethics Teachers in Europe aims at overcoming these curricular differences through (digital) innovation, in order to promote the acquisition of skills and competences of European ethics teachers.
The Erasmus+ project from 2017 with the title 'A Community of Ethics Teachers in Europe' (COMET; 2017-1-NL01-KA201-035219) established a network of ethics teachers by means of an online platform, which can now be visited at https://ethics.community. With the current project, 'A Community of Ethics Teachers in Europe 2' (COMET 2), we are expanding the online platform with the ethics curricula of five new partner countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway and Spain.
Coinciding with the development of the online platform, the research of the 2017 COMET project aimed at mapping and categorising the ethics curricula of the participating countries. One of the remarkable findings of the COMET project was that none of the participating countries employed a comprehensive methodology towards oracy in the ethics classroom: even though classroom discussions on ethical topics were common, a more systematic approach to debating moral dilemmas remained absent. This is noteworthy, as many studies have shown the positive impact of debate on the development of skills that are at the core of every ethics curriculum, such as critical thinking, empathy and respect for different viewpoints.
In order to respond to this lacuna in European ethics education, the COMET 2 project will aim at the development of a teacher's guide with the provisional title: 'Teaching Ethics through Debate'. The teacher's guide will consist of a systematic approach to debating moral dilemmas, supplemented with a collection of moral dilemmas that can be used as a starting point for classroom debates. The approach to debating moral dilemmas will be developed by drawing on the findings of the 2019 Erasmus+ strategic partnership with the title 'A Debate And Philosophy Typology' (ADAPT, 2019-1-NL01-KA201-060287), while the collection of moral dilemmas will be developed in close collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières Holland Association.