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Decision Making Model

Social Justice issue: Workers Rights and Exploitative Practices

Grade 10: Religion
This activity will be part of a series of lessons looking at The Universal Declaration
on Human Rights and The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The task can
be diagnostic in the sense that it will draw upon knowledge that students may have
already acquired from past lessons, and it can also be a springboard lesson into
further research.
In pairs or groups of three, read the following scenario and complete the Decision
Making Model below.
Scenario: There is a new trend going around school with a particular item of
clothing and brand logo. Many of your friends are buying this item of clothing to be
fashionable. But during this semester you completed a research project on
workers rights and trade exploitation, especially against women and children. The
store that sells this item and brand is highlighted as one that has a poor human
rights record on this issue. Using the Decision-Making Model provided, come to a
decision as to whether you are going to buy this trendy item of clothing at a cheap

Decision Making Model My think and decision process.

Recognize the decision to be made.
Ask questions about who will be affected?
Are there any victims in our scenario, if so
Is this a moral decision? (Is this an issue
of good and evil)
Analyze the options - is this the only way
or are there other ways to achieve my
Weigh up the pros and coins of each
Is it truly loving towards God and others?
What does my conscience tell me at
What does the gospels teach me about
care and respect for others?
What does the Church teach on this
Is there a wise person in my life who could
give me good advice?
(Using the above process is a way of
listening to Gods voice and helping us
hear clearly what our conscience is

Decide what is the most loving thing and
do it.
Is my action in line with the Golden

(Remember this may not always be an

easy or convenient choice, it may take
courage. Do not be afraid to ask God for
the grace to help you with your decision.)
How does your decision affect others?
Did you make the right choice?

I have included this particular task as part of the grade 10 Christ and Culture
course. Unit 8 aims to explore the call to Christian witness and to celebrate the
witness of the Church in our culture. It explores issues of social justice that relate to
globalization and its ecological impact.
The specific critical expectations addressed are:

demonstrate a profound respect for the dignity of and mystery of the human
person, as both blessed and broken, created, loved, and redeemed by God.
demonstrate an understanding of the importance of social justice by applying
the teachings of Jesus to their own culture.
recognize the spiritual and sacramental dimension implicit in human
experience and the created world
demonstrate a profound respect for the dignity of and mystery of the human
person, as both blessed and broken (CCC 356-412), created, loved and
redeemed by God (CCC 559-618,651655);
recognize that knowing the life and teachings of Jesus is important for moral
decision-making; demonstrate an understanding of the importance of social
justice by applying the teachings of Jesus to their own culture (CCC 1928-
demonstrate a knowledge of the social teachings of the Church (CCC 2419-
use the preferential option for the poor as the criterion for analysing social
injustice issues (CCC 2443-2449);
Developmental Appropriateness of the Task
In Erikson's stages of development, this age group would be at the "Identity vs Role
Confusion" stage. An adolescent is seeking to express more autonomy regarding
themselves and their decisions. Yet at the same time they are heavily influenced by
peers because there is a need to 'fit in.' This is an age where teenagers can begin
to develop strong affiliations to groups, causes, ideals and friends. The task is to
develop greater levels of autonomy while recognising that we are communitarian
and interdependent. The model above helps students to use their powers of critical
thinking and points out the sound sources of authority that will help them in
decision making.
Kohlberg uses the stages of moral development (Pre-Conventional, Conventional,
and Post-Conventional). Adolescence will have to make more and more choices
that have a moral dimension. The Decision Making Model can help students to
move into what Kohlberg calls the Level 3 Post-Convention stage. What this means
is that a person will make some decisions based on universal ethical principles such
as human rights, justice and freedom. There is a greater level of maturity in the
decision. In the task above, the students are not being told how they should
behave, but are led through a process using a moral compass that calls upon
wisdom traditions, wise people, and faithfulness to the values that are important to
them. Without good sources of support in a very diverse and complicated world,
making good moral decisions can be very confusing.
I chose the scenario above as it makes the point how injustices that have global
ramifications can be supported by the very ordinary, small, and seemly, innocuous
decisions that we make at home.
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The following highlights are just a few of the many applications that could be found
in relation to this topic:
Human rights 152-160, Dignity of work 270 275, The right to Work, 287 296,
Work is necessary, Women and right to work, and Child labour.
267. The course of history is marked by the profound transformation and the
exhilarating conquests of work, but also by the exploitation of so many workers and
an offence to their dignity. The Industrial Revolution presented for the Church a
critical challenge to which her social Magisterium responded forcefully and
prophetically, affirming universally valid and perennially relevant principles in
support of workers and their rights.
a. Work is necessary
287. Work is a fundamental right and a good for mankind, a useful good, worthy of
man because it is an appropriate way for him to give expression to and enhance his
human dignity. The Church teaches the value of work not only because it is always
something that belongs to the person but also because of its nature as something
a. The value of human rights
152. The movement towards the identification and proclamation of human rights is
one of the most significant attempts to respond effectively to the inescapable
demands of human dignity. The Church sees in these rights the extraordinary
opportunity that our modern times offer, through the affirmation of these rights, for
more effectively recognizing human dignity and universally promoting it as a
characteristic inscribed by God the Creator in his creature.
d. Women and the right to work
295. The feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society, therefore
the presence of women in the workplace must also be guaranteed. The first
indispensable step in this direction is the concrete possibility of access to
professional formation. The recognition and defence of women's rights in the
context of work generally depend on the organization of work, which must take into
account the dignity and vocation of women, whose true advancement ... requires
that labour should be structured in such a way that women do not have to pay for
their advancement by abandoning what is specific to them. This issue is the
measure of the quality of society and its effective defence of women's right to work.
e. Child labour
296. Child labour, in its intolerable forms, constitutes a kind of violence that is less
obvious than others but it is not for this reason any less terrible. This is a violence
that, beyond all political, economic and legal implications, remains essentially a
moral problem
This task promotes the use of the cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance,
and Fortitude) and theological virtues (Love, Faith and Hope). Prudence is the
capacity to think rationally and critically weigh up the evidence, analyze, evaluate
and apply data to the authoritative sources that guides a person life. A persons
actions should flow from a sound discernment process.
The object of the action should be good and will the good of the other. Justice looks
to the protection of the rights of people, especially, the vulnerable, poor and
oppressed. The aim is to ensure the dignity of each person, and in this case,
promote safe working conditions and fair pay to support a healthy standard of
Courage may be needed to take unpopular actions that may run counter-cultural,
and draw negative attention from friends who disagree, or see no sense in the
choice being made. It may take courage to even speak out about injustice when
fashion is such a prevalent influence on Western society.
Temperance is the exercise of self-control. It can take a lot of discipline to
overcome our own emotions and desires, especially when we want to fit in and be
part of the norm.
Justice Acronym Prayer
J Jesus thank you for the gift of my life and for of all creation.
U Un-hinder me from all the attitudes and fears that hold me back.
S Seek me and know my heart, O Lord (Ps. 139.)
T Together - you, I and others, can build a better world.
I Inscribe your law of love into my heart, mind and soul.
C Complete your work of holiness in me, that I my become all you
envision for me.
E - Equip me to be an effective ambassador of peace and reconciliation.