Teach them to think, what they think…

Kompas is a pedagogical tool to teach and develop ethical reflection.

Kompas is pedagogical tool developed for teachers and clinical tutors so they can help their (mainly) nursing students to develop and become aware of ethical thinking. Unlike other pedagogical approaches to ethics, Kompas does not demand a huge theoretical knowledge, because it uses the students own ethical opinions as a starting point and helps them to elaborate them further by discovering and avoiding self-contradictions.

The method has 3 basic steps:

  1. Find out what students think
  2. Find out if students contradict themselves
  3. Introduce a method to solve contradictions

1. We provide you with a questionnaire that you should send to your students. There they are presented with 13 ethical questions, which they have to answer yes or no and state why. They will keep a copy of their answers for themselves to use in class and send a digital copy to you.

2. We provide you with a reflection card. The card gives you some essential guidelines to interpret the results and start the reflections process in your classes. The card contains questions whose answers possibly contradict each other. For example, if a person were to say ”There are no universally valid ethical arguments” but then claim that ”Discriminating mentally handicapped patients is always wrong”. Depending on how this is meant, it could be a contradiction. Where contradictions are found, students are asked come up with a possible solution

3. To solve (can you really solve them?) contradictions we provide you with a reflection method. When possible contradictions are encountered students identify what is called ”a morally relevant difference” which allows them to have different answers to what might look like similar problems. For example, if a person were to say that “It is wrong for a criminal to kill an innocent child, but it is right for police to kill the criminal before he kills the innocent child.” We might need to ask if there is a morally relevant difference between killing in these two cases. What is the difference and why is it relevant. The method encourages precision in the formulation of a problem, identification of relevant circumstances that justify different ethical responses and also provides a foundation to them.