High School – Ethics

The first trimester in Noah Rachlin’s high school ethics class at Pacific Ridge School focuses on biomedical ethics. Students investigate a range of issues related to birth, death, reproduction, equity, and justice in local and international contexts. Although not all lessons explicitly address global issues, all aim to develop students’ ability to communicate and understand others through honest and open dialogue–skills that Mr. Rachlin describes as being at the “heart of internationalism.” In this lesson, the students are beginning to explore a new topic: resource allocation. They begin by discussing the general philosophical constructs that may define resource allocation and then consider the application of those principles in a specific case study. They will delve deeper into the case study through their homework reading and return to discuss further the following day.

Discussion Questions


  • What is the global learning demonstrated in these video clips?


  • How did the teacher support students’ learning?
  • What structures were in place to develop student discussion and allow for a diverse range of opinions?


  • Do these students demonstrate critical thinking, international mindedness, and respect for people and communities in their discussion? If so, how? If not, what is missing?


  • How might the learning demonstrated in these clips be extended?
  • If you were the classroom teacher, what would your next steps be to assess learning and deepen understanding? Consider how this question applies to building content knowledge, skill development, student dispositions, and global awareness.


  • How might you engage students in similar learning opportunities in your own school setting?
  • How might you structure discussions that support diverse views and multiple perspectives in your classroom?

In-class reading: “Should illegal immigrants have access to health care?”
Homework reading: “Illegal immigrants, health care, and social responsibility” – James Dwyer
Pacific Ridge website

Additional Footage
Full lesson video: Noah Rachlin’s high school Ethics class

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