Ethics and Empathy

We are very motivated to return this week to Mihai Eminescu High School to hold another workshop based on the course: Ethics and Empathy Online. We think it is important to talk about empathy online because it is part of the everyday life of students.

So, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of March, we went to 3 different classes and discussed for 40 minutes about:

  • What is empathy
  • How to eliminate the negative behaviours online
  • A six-steps method to deal with ethical dilemmas


What is empathy: Icebreaker


Firstly, we start our workshop with explaining the Icebreaker “Put in order”. The chosen Icebreaker is intended to make the students understand and even feel empathy. Especially, to understand how autistic people deal with daily life at the school.

Then, we divide the students into 4 teams and give them items such as pens and coloured sheets. Afterwards, Ibrahim asks them in Arabic language to put those different elements in a certain order. Of course, nobody understands it and the students are very confused. So, he gives them an image where there is  the right order for students to understand when they see the picture.

In conclusion, the goal of the activity is for the students to put themselves in the shoes of people with autism, who often only understand with pictures. And, therefore, to have empathy towards them.


Eliminate the negative behaviour online


After that, Lisa and Doina talk about empathy online. To begin, we give an example of a social media comment and ask the students what they think about it. Then, we explain to them how to deal with negative online behaviour and give examples of humoristic and kind answers.

Next, it is their turn, in group, to answer kindly or humoristically to the two comments we suggested. For the first one, they should find a positive answer and, for the second one, they should transform the mean comment in a non-violent way.

Overall, this exercise aims to teach them how to respond politely to negative comments and how they can find the right words to express opinions online.


Methods to deal with ethical dilemmas


At the end, Theo does the last activity about ethical dilemmas. He shows the students six steps to deal with those difficult choices to make. The subject is: “Your friend is posting content about suicidal thoughts on her/his private social media account”. And, he asks them to make an ethical decision.

For this, the students have six different steps:

  1. Know the facts
  2. Complete your knowledge
  3. List the concerns
  4. Develop possible solutions
  5. Evaluate the solutions
  6. Put it in effect

For the exercise, we give these steps in the wrong order, and they should replace these choices in the right order for making an ethical decision. This activity was interesting for them because we found that they can be confronted with this problem.


To conclude, the students liked these activities very much, they found the topic useful for their daily lives. Even online, negativity has an impact on people, and it is important to have the right words. Also, for us, it’s a pleasure to create these activities and to be able to teach the students new things.


Location: Mihai Eminescu high school, Constanta, Romania
Dates: 8th, 9th, and 11th of March, 2022

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