3.1 Hypothetical scenarios

Good teachers usually do this during their lectures or discussions. When they introduce a new idea, they provide examples of how it has appeared in the world, or they offer hypothetical scenarios in which it could appear in the world. You should make sure that at least some of your examples connect to the contexts in which students live: the histories of their own countries, the people with whom they are familiar, or the everyday contexts in which they live.

Of course, part of educating students means opening their eyes to historically and geographically distant countries and histories and people, but if you never help them see the connection between the content and their own lives, students are unlikely to transfer the course content to their lives. You will consider ways in which you could support your students in making these connections in the next activity.

Activity 3.1 Encouraging connections

Bringing to mind your own teaching experience, what techniques have you used to encourage your students to make connections between their own experience and the concepts being taught? Note down at least one technique in the box below.

You can type text here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Fortunately, you do not have to do all the work of making these connections yourself. If students gain a thorough understanding of the content, they should be able to identify their own examples of how the taught principles could apply in their own lives. The E4J Modules are designed to encourage lecturers and students to make these connections. A good example is this teaching is an activity from Exercise 1 of E4J Ethics Module 3 (Ethics and Society):

Students are encouraged to bring a daily newspaper to class or to access any news-related website. They are given five minutes for individual preparation – the task is to explore the front page or headlines and to identify three to five stories with a clear ethical component. After five minutes, small groups are formed to discuss and share examples. Each group is required to select one example to present to the class.

Inviting the students to comb through news reports, especially if those news reports are local, helps the students get into the habit of viewing the news through the lens of the principles you are helping them to master - and that, in turn, gets them into the habit of transferring the principles into other contexts outside of the classroom.

So, all the E4J Modules seek to invite students to engage in activities or tackle real-world scenarios in which the course content would apply. They also encourage you to discuss how the content applies to the students’ lives outside of the course. However, you should search consistently, whilst planning a course and engaged in teaching, for opportunities to facilitate transfer by inviting students to make connections between the content and their own lives.

In the remainder of unit 3 you will be introduced to three activities which illustrate how the E4J Modules seek to encourage learners to make connections between concepts of anti-corruption, integrity and ethics and their own lives. The activities illustrated below are used in E4J Ethics Module 1 to engage students with two different ethical theories: Utilitarianism and Deontology and in E4J Anti-Corruption Module 6 to explore recent research on the detection of corruption. These themes are explained in detail in the aforementioned Modules, but for clarity, a brief explanation of each will be offered to provide some context for the activities.

Unit 3: The challenge of transfer

3.2 Utilitarianism