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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Social Ethics Forum on Corporal Punishment

The address for the Socialsense blog
The Thebarton Senior College Moodle

Contact Malcolm at

The social ethics topic of corporal punishment

The class has decided that the social ethics topic is to be corporal punishment. Now that we have decided on this topic for our Forum I suggest that you should be reading everything you can find on the topic.

The groups are:
George, Leah, Ornella and Darcy (4)
Moderates or Independents
Majak, Tahera and Yahye
Maria, Lok, Khem and Francios (4)

You will notice we have a 'hung parliament'. The Moderates need to discuss which side they will support ...or splinter as a group!

* Attached is the assignment sheet for the Ethics Forum on corporal punishment

* Here is the Corporal Punishment Bill to be debated at the Forum

Firstly let us clarify what corporal punishment.

 "any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light."
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with the open hand or with an implement, whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings.

*  Corporal punishment in schools - some excellent backgound, history and global information on corporal punishment.

 * Research on the topic


 * Unicef presentation

 * The other side to the argument

YouTube items on corporal punishment to watch

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Deconstructing the issue

The address for the Socialsense blog
The Thebarton Senior College Moodle

Contact Malcolm at

Which way to go?

To be an issue the topic needs to be contestable. That is, there must be more than one reasonable view on the topic. As a student you are expected to be objective and view it in an unbiased way as possible as you analyse the issue. The technique we use when deconstructing an issue is to try to brainstorm the reasons why we should agree or not agree with the a statement related to a issue. For example, if we are talking about citizenship in Australia, we may frame a statement such as:

"Australian Citizenship should be compulsory for all permanent residents in Australia."

Being objective

The task then is to look at the issue in detail (primary and secondary research) and then develop reasons why one would agree with the statement and the reasons one would not. To be objective you must look at what other people would say in relation to tthe issue - not just what you think. Whether you call it Pro's and Con's or For's and Against's this is an important process when deconstructing an issue. This worksheet may help you undertake this task.

Being subjective

You will see on the worksheet that after deconstructing the issue in terms of pro's and con's you have the opportunity to give your opinion on the issue. Now you can bring in your values and bias as a person, as to what you would do if faced with such an issue. Not always the way to go for a student of Society and Cultures but in this task I am asking to do such a thinking process.

Projecting forward objectively

You are also asked to project forward and suggest what you think will happen in the future in relation to the issue. This section should not be what you want to happen but what you think will happen!

In reality you have moved during this process from being objective - to being subjective - to be objective.

What the?

The address for the Socialsense blog

A humorous look at issues from Onion TV in the US. What does it tell us about issues and critical literacy.

* The whales issue
* Women dictator

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The issue of issues

The Stage 2 Social Ethics topic raises the issue of what is an issue

The study of social issues raises the question as to what actually is an issue. It can be said that at the local, national or global level, an issue involves considering the following:

• Dispute is the essence of any issue.

• Issues often involve contending groups of people with conflicting opinions.

• The hardest part of any study is selecting an appropriate issue. Issues selected for investigation must show clearly conflicting elements and involve choices decided from a range of alternatives.

• The investigation of an issue must consider the roles and perceptions of stakeholders (various groups in those places and other significant groups elsewhere) that have a vested interest in the issue.

An example of an issue is:
'Should the age of drinking alcohol be increased.'
In the Society and Cultures classes at both Stage 1 and 2 you are required to develop and conduct an investigation of a social issue.

To help you with the investigation here are some websites dedicated to exploring and providing information on issues. It would be a useful exercise for you to look at as many issue as possible before deciding on the final topic to conduct your investigation.

Here are some of the sites to explore:

* Newspapers to explore for issues at

* Find out the facts on a wide range of issues at

* Research issues at the Social Issue Research Centre at

* Investigate a catalogue of issues at

* Find out information for issue studies at

* Investigate a directory of issues at

* Look at this Australian social action issue site at

* Here is a resource with summaries of many issues

Inquiring and researching

Image above: The need for objectiveness when researching

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle 

Research sources for the Investigation

The secondary research required for the Investigation must go beyond the normal "Googling" process. A more comprehensive process is required which involves the fantastic database research facilities we have at Thebarton Senior College. If you don't know how to use them just ask others and practice using them. The codes are available on the bookmarks supplied – get one from the library (I can't put them up on this public blog!). When you have found a source article from the databases you must citate in accordance with the Harvard system. Don't leave the bibliography until the end, it should be collated as you go along correctly citated. Go to citation facility on the library link to create the correct citation of the source.
Here are the links, all your research is just a few clicks away!

  EBSCO Host databases

EBSCOhost databases and discovery technologies are the most-used, premium online information resources for tens of thousands of institutions worldwide, representing millions of end-users. It contains thousands of articles from magazines, journals etc on every imaginable topic/social issue.

EBSCO Host contains:

* Australia New Zealand database

* Australia New Zealand points of view

Again, the User ID and Password on the bookmark.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Keep an eye out!

Image above: Check out this great site for newspapers.

Contact me at
The address for the Socialsense blog

The Thebarton Senior College Moodle

Thanks for the great talk lessons this week.  After throwing ideas around we have the following draft topics. They are:

  • Population – growth or not, refugee intake, asylum seekers
  • Banning smoking in public – smoking near children
  •  Same sex marriage
  • Controlling media violence
  • Body modification – control or not?
  • Immunisation – compulsory?
  • Religious discrimination –  Burka laws? Headwear removal, religious holidays - to be a holiday for all mainstream religions
  • Should sheltered workshops pay their workers more – is it fair competition for other manufacturers/service providers
  • Raising the retirement age
  • Dealing with domestic violence – can the law effectively deal with what happens in the home – between couples
  • Child abuse - corporal punishment by parents?

As I mentioned on Wednesday, we have two guests coming in next week for us to explore their views on your issues, plus much more. They will be invaluable lessons for you to 'fine-tune' your topics for the Investigation - don't miss them!!

Now that you have these topics and are into your Investigation I suggest you 'keep an eye out' for articles in the media (print and visual) for stories involving issues and associated values and ethics. Every page has an issue on it!! 

There are two reasons I ask this of you:
1. You might get an article directly related to the issue you have chosen for your Investigation.  Such current news in your investigation will really add to your discussion and evidence of your research skills.
2. You may get a new idea of an issue that you may wish to do.
3. It will give you an idea of how to look at (or not to look at) an issue and provide a possible framework to follow when discussing an issue.

I would also like to refer you again to the Issue Deconstruction process (file called Deconstruction task) I developed for you to analyse an issue.  I suggest you visualise this page every time you read about an issue.  For your investigation I suggest you complete this deconstruction page as soon as you can to aid your research.

Here is an article to get you thinking about an ethical issue: the right of parents to stop medical treatment based on faith.  Go to this link for the full article.

DOCTORS have made an urgent plea to the Supreme Court to help save the life of a Jehovah's Witness girl dying of leukaemia.
On Friday, Justice Richard White ordered the girl, 4, receive treatment, including a blood transfusion to which her parents had objected on religious grounds.
Paediatric oncologist Dr Petra Ritchie said without treatment the girl "will die ... I would say in weeks".

Other articles with an issue based in the media recently are:

I will be adding to this Socialsense blog posting as I come across issues in the paper in coming weeks.  Keep an eye out!!!