The Ethics Bowl is a fun and rewarding way to get high school students thinking about the challenging ethical and political issues of our time. As a team member, you will investigate and debate such issues as medical ethics, censorship, violence in schools, and the financial practices of world governments, all in a chiefly collaborative manner. The goal is not to prove your friends and opposing teams wrong, but to debate in a careful, thoughtful manner about the positions which make the most sense.
While similar in structure to a debate, students on a team are not assigned positions or captains. This means no one tells you what to think or when to speak--it's the job of the entire team to come together to make the best case for their position to the judges and the opposing team. In turn, the other team will comment on your position, perhaps helping to clarify or perfect it. Even the judges have a chance to chime in, and your team will field their questions too.
As cooperative as the Ethics Bowl is, teams are still scored based on the strengths of their presentations. In the end, one team will be declared the winner, and will be eligible to travel to North Carolina in the Spring to participate in the National Ethics Bowl competition!
If you're a high school teacher and think you would enjoy helping a team of 3-5 students think through interesting ethical and political issues, we would be more than happy to help you form and prepare a team for the competition. Coaches who volunteer once consistently sign up to help the following year — it's an amazing experience to guide students through the most important topic of their lives: how to be a good person!
Coaches can meet with their teams as often as they like, but an hour or two per week if often enough, especially if the students are willing to do independent prep at home. It's never too late to form a team either! Successful teams have been organized in the past no more than 2 weeks prior to the day of competition. Ethical and political problems come up in our lives everyday, so students are constantly preparing for the competition on some level, whether they know it or not.
Assistant Coaches are also in constant demand, so college graduates and undergraduates, attorneys and paralegals, politicians and civic servants, or any discerning mind should feel free to contact us about these opportunities. Your commitment is completely dependent on availability.
Be a Judge
Free on the day of competition? We'd love to have you serve as a volunteer judge! Though judges are often philosophy professors or graduate students, any ethically or politically-minded adult is welcome. We'll set you up with all the training you'll need to be informed about the competition and the issues being discussed.
Whether you're a student "bowler," coach, judge, or volunteer, our resources page has helpful links and documents to get you started.