A code of ethics for CEOs

I was browsing around in youtube last night and came across a video from a Columbian youth.

The question was so poignant I immediately knew it would make a great lesson.

Today in Davos, the World Economic Forum begins. To support their activities, other than their website, the WEF have also created an interactive page on youtube for questions and lectures on a number of topics including economy, ethics, environment and politics.

Pablo's answer to the question Should CEOs have a code of ethics was:

You can download the video from here.
Not sure how to take it into class, come here.

I know I'm 100% for this idea, my feelings are "about time" -but what do our business English students think?

Here's a quick lesson plan - don't hesitate to add to it or suggest other uses for these rich and interesting discussions.
  • ask students if they know what a "code of ethics" is
  • get them to list professions that have one
doctors, psychologists, lawyers, journalists, social workers and more
  • write on the board - Should CEOs have a code of ethics? Ask why, why not?
  • watch the video (possibly more than once depending on your students' levels)
  • review some of the more difficult vocabulary* (see below, you could also pre-teach)
  • hold a discussion on the suggestions he makes, feasible?
Quite long: you can split these up into parts or only use some of it,
do a google search for others if you have a large class.
Different codes to different students.
  • provide this guideline on creating a code of ethics, c.o.e. (or adapt)
  • get students to brainstorm a new code specifically for CEOs in groups
  • encourage them to use some of the 'legal-speak' they've picked up so far
  • monitor slightly, remind them of the modals of obligation
  • choose a presenter from each group to relay their c.o.e, edit as necessary
  • discuss the pros and cons of their suggestions

Important vocabulary
  • to be contingent on, to standardize, to compromise
  • unethical liberties, human rights, common characteristics, profit-driven
  • an international code, international markets

Post-task activity

Let your students choose between watching further videos on youtube, listening to podcasts or reading articles, blog postings etc on the WEF and ask them to report back on their activities next week (or next lesson(s)).

kofi annan world economic forum flickrYou could also ask them to research the people present or behind the scenes. Alternatively, you can also ask your students to look into the history of the Forum and the location chosen.

Or, if you're lucky enough to be teaching a group with great technology skills, teens /youth perhaps, why not get them to make video responses on their cameras or camera phones and actually participate in the debates - such fun!

p.s don't forget you can .pdf this page or send it to yourself/ a friend. Buttons below.

4 Responses to “A code of ethics for CEOs”

  • Anonymous says:
    January 29, 2009

    I really like this. Well done. I wonder how this lesson would go down in different cultural settings!

    Also I'd be very happy if you came and joined us at the ELT World forums.


    David V.

  • Marga Alfonso says:
    February 02, 2009

    Thanks a lot for your advice and your nice words about my blog! I like yours too.

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Marga Alfonso says:
    February 02, 2009

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    November 03, 2010

    Thank you! An oldie but a real fave!!


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