Consumer and financial literacy: Ethical understanding

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The Ethical Understanding capability has a role in developing consumer and financial literacy in young people. This capability equips students to take account of ethical considerations in consumer and financial contexts such as human rights and environmental issues related to the production and consumption of goods and services. Ethical Understanding contributes to the development of the dimensions of consumer and financial literacy as shown in the diagram below.

Approximate proportion of the dimensions addressed by Ethical Understanding

Ethical Understanding assists students to navigate the consumer and financial world of competing values, rights, interests and norms. Students build a strong personal and socially-oriented ethical outlook that helps them to manage consumer and financial contexts and to develop an awareness of the influence that their values and behaviours have on others, including the impact of their consumer and financial choices. The Ethical Understanding  capability does this through fostering the development of personal values and attributes such as honesty, resilience, empathy and respect for others, and the capacity to act with ethical integrity. Students learn to recognise ethical concepts and explore ethical issues in consumer and financial contexts such as sustainable living and socio-economic disparity. They also learn to consider the outcomes of and reflect on ethical action. This element involves students identifying and examining values and exploring rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups in consumer and financial contexts and practices.

Moneysmart for teachers and Tax, Super and You provide a number of interdisciplinary units and interactive activities that include aspects of the Ethical Understanding capability.


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Typically, by the end of Year 10, students:

Recognise ethical concepts

critique generalised statements about ethical concepts 

Explore ethical concepts in context

distinguish between the ethical and non-ethical dimensions of complex issues

Reason and make ethical decisions

investigate reasons for clashes of beliefs in issues of personal, social and global importance

Typically, by the end of Year 10, students:

Reflect on ethical action

evaluate diverse perceptions and ethical bases of action in complex contexts

Typically, by the end of Year 10, students:

Consider consequences

analyse the objectivity or subjectivity behind decision making where there are many possible consequences

Examine values

analyse and explain the interplay of values in national and international forums and policy making

Explore rights and responsibilities

evaluate the merits of conflicting rights and responsibilities in global contexts

Consider points of view

use reasoning skills to prioritise the relative merits of points of view about complex ethical dilemmas