Religious education

21st January 2005 at 00:00
KS 4

Ethics courses, the ethics of shoe production and pricing can be a good subject for internet research or Rough Guide exploration and is part of a wider debate on fair trading.

Cyrus Clark was a Quaker shoemaker in Street, Somerset, and Quaker businesses were run on strictly honest lines - more internet research possibilities - but his business passed on to others just as other Quaker businesses like Rowntrees were sold on.

Another major ethical angle is the power of advertising and peer pressure - forcing families who may not be well off to finance expensive trainers that are "essential" in order for their children to be deemed "cool" at school.

Empathy exercises based on the people and forces involved here can be effective and some students will volunteer personal experiences, sometimes painful.

Are westerners "victims" in a different way from allegedly exploited employees in the Far East? How far does "fashion" extend - is it now the fashion to be non-religious for example, and, if so, is that as powerful a force on our attitudes and behaviour as the pressure that means we must have the latest brand name trainers?

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