Developing ethical leaders…
This week at Junior School assembly I spoke about the importance of having a moral compass. We all know what a compass is. Cadets and scouts for example, are well-versed in using a compass as a navigation tool. However, what do we mean when we refer to the notion of a moral compass? This is a more abstract notion. In essence, we are referring to a navigation tool that will help us make the right decision when encountering a moral dilemma. This can be a much more difficult assignment and requires some cognitive processing. I often ask after an incident – “What were you thinking?” And the answer is “I wasn’t sir.”
We make ethical decisions every day. Often, we are not even aware we are doing so. As parents and educators, we have a role to play in helping the next generation’s development of their moral compass. The community also has a role to play. For example, the Judiciary and the Parliament pass judgements and laws that reinforce what they (as community representatives) deem to be right and wrong behaviour.
In religious and indigenous communities, the ethical frameworks have also been informed by texts and/or long-standing cultural practices and traditions that have evolved over millennia.
In the modern era, with the advent of the internet and subsequently social media, the ability to make informed decisions can be harder as the volume of opinions on issues has increased exponentially and it can therefore become very difficult to discern what is right and wrong.
As many of you know, I am also a member of the Judiciary and preside over child bail and remand hearings. When making decisions, I consider context, prior offences, age, mental capacity, and the surrounding circumstances. However, it is ultimately risk to the community, likelihood of re-offending, severity and impact that will inform my decision. Most people ultimately know they have done the wrong thing and we can then proceed to next steps. Where possible, I seek educative and restorative outcomes. I do the same at school. I aim to illustrate why the behaviour was wrong and seek a solution where the young person can make amends for the behaviour in a restorative way.
This brings me to the purpose of this piece. In recent weeks I have suspended several students for behaviour that has been inconsistent with the school’s values, for example, disrespectful behaviour towards a member of staff. I do not make these decisions lightly. Many of our students will be leaders in their field. I believe that in addition to being well-versed and highly regarded in their field, they need to be highly regarded as corporate citizens who make sound judgements and can act ethically and responsibly. We work together, therefore, to help shape ethical leaders who will care for our community and its resources.
Vale Keith Oliver
We recently lost a valued member of our school community. Keith had recently served as a member of the Finance Committee. As a parent of two past students, he held the school in high regard and continued to give back years after his boys graduated. Our condolences to his wife, sons and extended family and friends.
Anastasia the Musical – congratulations and well done.
My highlight this week was the combined Mac. Rob, Melbourne High Musical. What an amazing showcase of our talent. To all staff, stage crew, performers, front of house and audience, a heart-felt thank you. There was so much joy and enthusiasm on and off stage. This said it all. I have a firm commitment to ensuring that the performing and visual arts continue to be an integral part of the MHS experience. Whole school productions provide many opportunities for many students to shine and develop a raft of skills including their public speaking skills, teamwork, technical skills (stage crew) and interpersonal communication. These build confidence and create long-term benefits.
Your ongoing financial and personal support of the arts programs is sincerely appreciated. Our Foundation has provided funds through its Arts and Culture Trust and many parents choose to contribute a voluntary contribution through their parent payments.
Dr Tony Mordini