BC High School Ethics Bowl 2021
2021 Ethics Bowl web news: BC Regional High School Ethics Bowl
The Department of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University hosted the BC Regional High School Ethics Bowl on Saturday, February 20th. Unlike last year’s competition, this years Ethics Bowl was held online, hosted on a custom platform developed as a collaboration between the Canadian and the American national organizations.
A record number of 15 teams from 11 schools took part in the event, increased from 10 teams in 2020 and 5 teams in 2019. In addition to schools that have been with us since the very beginning—Ideal Mini School, Princess Margaret Secondary, Prince of Wales Secondary, Sands Secondary, and Vancouver Technical Secondary—and schools returning for a second time—Fraser Heights Secondary and Rick Hansen Secondary—four new schools took part in this year’s event–Panorama Ridge Secondary, Semiahmoo Secondary, Sutherland Secondary, and University Hill Secondary.
Seventy-five wonderful students took part, displaying amazing ability to engage with challenging and sometimes questions on the following topics: teen vaping, algorithms and AI, toxic masculinity, call-out culture, criminal records, weaponized drones, deep sea mining, Canada as a world power, vaccine distribution, and high school dropouts.
Matches throughout the day were hotly contested, with every team managing to win at least one of their five matches. Prince of Wales Secondary (Team A), the champions of this year’s event, had a stunning performance, ending with 4 wins and one tie.
The runner-up team, Ideal Mini School, ended the day with four wins after conceding a point only to the winners. This continues Ideal Mini School’s incredible successful streak (2019 finalist, 2020 champions).
Both teams will advance to the National finals, to be held online on April 16-17, 2021. More information about the National finals is available at ethicsbowl.ca.
What Is An Ethics Bowl?
An Ethics Bowl is both a collaborative and competitive team event, in which grade 9-12 students study, imagine, criticize, and compare stances and argumentative strategies, within an educationally-enhanced debate structure. The aim of the activity is to develop and demonstrate ability to critically engage with on current ethical issues—social, political, economic, scientific, cultural, and beyond.
As opposed to traditional debate structures, in which reactionary opposition to each other and rhetorical flurries are often rewarded, the Ethics Bowl rewards critical listening and the ability to envision other points of views. Instead of being rewarded for digging their heels as the argumentation progresses, debaters may amend their original positions when faced with convincing arguments. Students have opportunities to pose and respond to probing questions from judges with expertise in critical and ethical reasoning. These result in a deepening awareness of the stakes and principles that animate the discussion.
We would like to thank the teachers who have volunteered to coach the teams for their fantastic contribution: Jeffrey Aw-Yong, Michael Edmonson, Michael Hughes, Grant Jamieson, Kevin Larkin, John Munro, Tony Lee, Dale Martelli, and Hardip Rakkar.
Many thanks as well to our outstanding team of volunteer judges and moderators. Most of our 34 volunteers were affiliated with university and colleges in the region, including Simon Fraser University, the University of the Fraser Valley, Douglas College, UBC (both Vancouver and Okanagan), and BCIT. Specifically, our warm thanks go to: Anastasia Anderson, Michael Bodnar, Michael Bourke, Cody Brooks, Eddie Cai, Anna Cook, Lyle Crawford, Tom Donaldson, Cem Erkli, Jacob Gebrewold, Bruno Guindon, Aaron Mascarenhas, Milos Mihajlovic, Gary Neels, Graham Moore, Stephen Ogden, Lauren Perry, John Perry, Michael Picard, Miranda Pinter-Collet, Madeleine Ransom, Aaron Richardson, Sarah Rossiter, Lisa Shapiro, Evan Tiffany, Dashiell Shulman, Kesavan Thanagopal, Kelsey Vicars, Jenn Wang, Xinyu Xu, and Jenna Yuzwa.
We also recognize the three SFU units that continue to be highly supportive of the event, and who stepped up to fund the entire Canadian share of the cost for the development of the platform: the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty’s Office of Marketing and Communications, and the Department of Philosophy. Many thanks for making this event possible for students across Canada! We would also like to thank the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers Association for their continuing support and for facilitating increasing participation to the Ethics Bowl by BC students.