Teaching ethics with debate


Ethics education plays an integral role in the fostering of active global citizenship, critical thinking and global competence which includes examination of local, global and intercultural issues, understanding and appreciation of the perspectives and worldviews of others, engaging in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and acting for collective well-being and sustainable development.


However, ethics is studied in European secondary schools within a wide variety of curricula, ranging from philosophy and civics, to ethics as an independent curriculum such as in Germany. This fragmentation of curricula, along with a fragmentation of pedagogical methods and goals, inhibits the opportunities for exchanges of best practices and mutual learning. One of the remarkable findings in preliminary research was that none of the EU countries employed a comprehensive methodology towards oracy in the ethics classroom: even though classroom discussions on ethical topics were common, a more systematic approach to debating moral dilemmas remained absent. This is noteworthy, as many studies have shown the positive impact of debate on the development of skills that are at the core of every ethics curriculum, such as critical thinking, empathy and respect for different viewpoints


COMET project therefore aims at overcoming these curricular differences through digital and debate-based methodological innovation, in order to promote the acquisition of skills and competences of European ethics teachers.


Objectives, activities and impact

Within the project (2017 – 2020) we have established a network of ethics teachers by means of an online platform, which can now be visited at


In the ongoing follow up project (2020 – 2023) we are:


  • expanding the online platform with the ethics curricula
  • developing the teacher’s guide with the provisional title: ‘Teaching Ethics Through Debate’, that will fit to the variety of curricula and approaches throughout the partner countries.


Consortium and partners

Coordinator: Tilburg University (Netherlands) 

Consortium consists of five universities (Tilburg University, The Netherlands; Sofia University, Bulgaria; Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain; Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway; Matej Bel University, Slovakia), three secondary schools (Wolfert Bilingual School Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Gymnasium Weilheim, Germany; Lycée Classique de Diekirch, Luxembourg), and three associations (Za in Proti, National Debate Organisation of Slovenia; Udruga Mala Filozofija, Philosophical Association of Croatia; Institute of Educational Policy in Athens, Greece). Additionally, the COMET 2 project has three associated partners: Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie (FISP), Association Internationale des Professeurs de Philosophie (AIPPh), and International Debate Education Association (IDEA).


Key info:

Project is co-funded by the European Union (EU Commission) 

Programme: Erasmus+

Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practises

Action type: Strategic Partnership of school education

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