- Ethical Literacy Outcome: #5 Moral Courage
- Schools of Integrity Finding: Pervasive Attention to Ethics and Values; Relationships Fuel Learning and Ethical Development; Authentic Student Input
- To explore examples of moral courage and self expression
Preparation and Materials
- Read a version of the Guernica storyto your students, then post it or provide copies.”While living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso suffered harassment from the Gestapo. One officer allegedly asked him, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, “Did you do that?” Picasso responded, “No, you did.” -Wikipedia.org
- Find and post a slide or print of Picasso’s famous mural. (above)
- Provide background about the Spanish Civil War and what was at stake (Picasso painted Guernica for the Paris Exhibition of 1937, a few months after the small town of Guernica was destroyed by Italian and German forces that were supporting the Spanish government during the Spanish Civil War. Defenseless civilians died, and eventually the Spanish Republican Army was defeated by Franco. Picasso took a risk by living in Nazi-occupied Paris after presenting Guernica at the Exhibition.
- Post the Venn Diagram for Moral Courage: Intersecting circles labeled “Principles”, “Danger”, “Endurance”
- Have copies of the Venn Diagram available for step #4 below.
- Post these questions, which will guide step #2 below:
a. What Principles were compelling Picasso to make Guernica?
b. What dangers did he face?
c. What sources of strength helped Picasso commit to making this mural despite the dangers?
- Provide the story and print/slide of Picasso’s famous mural. Discuss elements of the mural and how they relate to the story of Guernica’s bombardment.
- Split your class into small groups. Each group will discuss Picasso’s decision to paint Guernica, as this decision relates to the elements of Moral Courage. Ask students to answer these questions:
• What Principles were compelling Picasso to make Guernica?
• What dangers did he face?
• What sources of strength helped Picasso commit to making this mural despite the dangers?
- Ask groups to come together and consolidate thinking. Scribe their thinking on the posted Venn Diagram. Particularly emphasize that Picasso’s decision to act on moral courage made his life harder and more complicated. Remind your students that if ethics were easy, we wouldn’t have to think about it much!
- (optional) Ask your students to develop and perform skits of Picasso discussing with a trusted friend his plan to paint Guernica
Ask students if they have favorite artwork, songs, stories or other forms of self expression that represent taking risks for the sake of an ideal or principle. Invite students to share their favorites and explain the moral courage connection.