Focus on Teaching Students How to Think (Not What To Think)

By Linda Fisher Thornton Have you noticed that the current fray about what to teach about difficult subjects has been focused on teaching "one way or the other?" "Are you for it or against it? and "Which side are you on?" This approach completely misses the point that the purpose of education is not to teach students what to think. It's to teach students how to think, and how to navigate differences respectfully.

Non-Violence and the Greater Good (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton When we lead for the greater good, we leave a positive legacy for future generations. At this highest level of ethical leadership, we ensure quality of life and opportunities for others we may never meet, well into the future. We intentionally create a better world.

No Routine Decisions

By Linda Fisher Thornton As a leadup to a keynote I'm doing for the Michigan Association of School Boards, I was invited to submit a feature article for their fall issue of the MASB LeaderBoard. In the article, "Meeting the Challenge of Ethical Decision Making," I write about how since the start of the pandemic, decision making has become more complex and requires much more intentional decision making.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 6)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I dug into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making. In Part 4 I described ways to develop ethical thinking. In Part 5, I shared some recent blog posts about how to recognize ethical issues in current events and make good decisions about them. In Part 6, I provide an overview of each post in the series and an opportunity for you to practice recognizing ethical issues with your teams.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 4)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I dug into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making. In Part 4, I will explore how you can develop ethical thinking.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 3)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I'll dig into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 2)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series, I explored why it is important to develop our own internal warning system to alert us when we need to think carefully about ethical issues. In this post, I'll address why some leaders who want to do the right thing have not yet developed their capacity to detect ethical issues.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton When a plane experiences heavy turbulence, a light on the overhead panel alerts passengers to take a seat and fasten their safety belts. The instructions are clear, people know what to do, and it’s usually an orderly process. When people make decisions in their daily rounds, though, there is no external alert or audible alarm to signal that they are stepping into an ethical issue or an ethical gray area and need to carefully consider ethical issues. This can be a problem, especially because there are so many cognitive biases working against us as we try to make responsible decisions.

Does “Politically Correct” Mean Inclusive and Respectful?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I studied Linguistics and Communications at The University of Virginia and I am fascinated by how words shape our perception of things. Lately there has been a lot of discussion about the term "politically correct," sometimes shortened to "PC." I have noticed it is used when people refer to the pressure to be polite to all people, including those who are different from themselves. 

We The People: What We Value

By Linda Fisher Thornton As we near the 4th of July, it is a fitting time to remind ourselves of the greater vision for our country. During a tour of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, I realized that the U.S. Constitution opens with a beautiful ethics code designed to ground our nation in a commitment to the long-term greater good of society.

Seeing The Facets of Facts Part 2

By Linda Fisher Thornton Building on last week's post about Seeing the Facets of Facts, this week I'm digging into the dangers of "Partialized Facts." When I say "Partialized Facts" I refer to treating one perspective on an issue that is only part of the picture as the whole truth. I have seen it happen so many times. It's time to call it what it is. Unethical.

Seeing the Facets of Facts Part 1

By Linda Fisher Thornton Most of the time when we answer a question with a single response, that answer is only part of the picture. We have all seen leaders (who may feel a need to appear decisive) answer quickly without thinking through the implications of their response. When this happens, what they share is oversimplified and "partialized," not a relevant or responsible interpretation of the complex issues involved.