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Trials at the Ateneo de Manila High School

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Presentation on theme: "Trials at the Ateneo de Manila High School"— Presentation transcript:

1 Trials at the Ateneo de Manila High School
Ester Estrella M. Abito, M.Sc. Faculty, Ateneo de Manila High School Loyola Heights, Quezon City Philippines

2 I.                   Introduction The inclusion of Bioethics issues in the Biology classes of the Ateneo de Manila High School has started years back. With the participation of the school in the Bioethics Education Project in July 2003, entire Biology classes were eventually devoted to Bioethics concerns using appropriate Bioethics chapters/ modules. The suitability of the Bioethics chapters used in the classes is based mainly on their relevance to the Biology curriculum currently implemented in the school.

3 The Ateneo de Manila High School 1/2
The Ateneo de Manila High School is a Filipino, Catholic, Jesuit, college preparatory school. As one of the Philippines’ premier Jesuit Schools, and as a college preparatory school of the Ateneo de Manila University, the Ateneo de Manila High School is “inspired and guided by the philosophy behind Jesuit Education.”

4 The Ateneo de Manila High School 2/2
The Ateneo believes “that a training in liberal education is the means to achieve this purpose.” An Atenean is “exposed to the rich literary heritage of different cultures, developing habits of orderly thought, critical reflection, imaginative, clear, and persuasive communication, together with the rigorous mental discipline of mathematics and the sciences.”

5 IIII. Trial Classes on Bioethics Chapters 1/5
o To appreciate the facility with which the Ateneo de Manila High School welcomed the Bioethics project of Dr. Darryl Macer, and the vigor of its faculty’s participation in the project, it is useful to understand the school’s motto, Lux in Domino, or "Light in the Lord.“ T Taken from the Holy Bible in the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians (5:8), the words “Light in the Lord” capture the “spirit of a way of life which the Ateneo holds up to her sons, as their best contribution to the work by which God transformed the world. T Thus, the Ateneo calls on its youth “to BE that light of the Lord in the world.”

6 III. Trial Classes on Bioethics Chapters 2/5
In the same vein, the Biology faculty of the Ateneo de Manila High School, “inspired and guided by the philosophy behind Jesuit education,” embrace and implement the Bioethics education project as a means to: -- relate scientific knowledge with the students’ ability to reason; -- address students’ concerns about ethical or social impacts of biotechnology; - present a balanced picture of risks and benefits of alternative technologies; and develop more informed debate (Macer, 2003).

7 Table 1. Bioethics Trial Classes from August 2003-January 2004
Teacher No. of Classes Total Students Bioethics Chapter 1 Alma Pavia, Milarosa Gaho, Ester Abito, Libertine Sanchez 9 classes 335 Introduction and Chapter 1:Making Choices, Diversity and Bioethics (Macer, 2003) 2 Milarosa Gaho 3 classes 120 Genetic Privacy and Information (Su, 2003) 3 Ester Abito, 6 classes 232 Lifestyle and Fertility (Pollard, 2003) 4 Ester Abito 4 classes 149 Assisted Reproductive Technology (Pollard, 2003) 5 106 Ecotourism (Ng, 2003) 6 Alma Pavia, Ester Abito, Milarosa Gaho 338 Genetically Modified foods/GE (Bhardwaj, 2003) 7 1 class 23 Testing for Cancer Gene Susceptibility (Conner, 2003) 8 Organ Donation (Bagheri, 2003) 9 AIDS (Maekawa, 2003) 10 252 SARS (Hsin and Macer, 2003) 11 HS Teachers from Public Schools Bioethics Lessons 12 Mary Ann Ng 2A & 2B 80 Bioethics: Love of Life Total: 48 classes

8 III. Trial Classes on Bioethics Chapters 4/5
III. Trial Classes on Bioethics Chapters /5 As shown on Table 1, 48 classes were trial-tested on ten different chapters and two integrated bioethics sessions. The Biology faculty of the Science and Technology Department of the Ateneo de Manila High School conducted the Bioethics trial classes. The Bioethics chapters that were used in the trial classes were selected according to their relevance and application to the current Biology curriculum. In most cases, entire sessions of the trial classes were devoted to the Bioethics chapter/module.

9 III. Trial Classes on Bioethics Chapters 5/5
III. Trial Classes on Bioethics Chapters 5/5 However, despite the openness and modern character of the Jesuit education, some topics are considered controversial, from the perspective of the Catholic Church, like euthanasia and assisted reproductive technology. For these topics, Jesuits who are into Bioethics are willing to conduct talks to the Biology teachers on how these topics should be handled in class. 

10 IV. Classroom Strategies 1/4
 IV.                         Classroom Strategies /4   Generally, entire sessions are devoted to the contents of the Bioethics chapter/module. Additional time for Bioethics are in the form of extended homework and research outside the regular class, film viewing in previous sessions, and outbound education or field visit, in particular, for the Ecotourism chapter. The teachers use video material (e.g. the movie Gattacca) as take-off point for bioethics issues. The students view the film then write a journal or reflection paper about the film viewed. Additionally, current events, like the uprooting and balling of old hardwood trees along a major thoroughfare near the Ateneo campus, provide good context and greater awareness of Bioethics concerns.

11 IV. Classroom Strategies 2/4
 IV.                  Classroom Strategies /4 Another class strategy used by the teachers is the combination lecture - question and answer discussion of the Bioethics chapter, using and following the flow of information and questions contained in the chapter. In most of these classes, the students were given the Bioethics chapter previously for their advanced reading. In classes where so much interest in a topic (e.g. assisted reproductive technology) has been generated, an impromptu, informal debate would ensue in class.

12 IV. Classroom Strategies 3/4
 IV.            Classroom Strategies /4   In one instance, in the Advanced Biology class, with some members of the school’s debating club in the class, the students asked for a formal debate on the Bioethics topic (Genetic Engineering). After some preparation and further research on the topic, group reporting was done, followed by the formal debate.

13 IV. Classroom Strategies 4/4
In other classes, the students were given the Bioethics chapter in class to be worked on in dyads, or in groups of threes or fours as a form of cooperative learning. Then the students respond in written form to the questions in the chapter, individually, or in groups. This strategy allows greater student participation and involvement in the discussions Except for some activities which entail extended time and greater effort on the students, the teachers generally implement the various class activities suggested in the Bioethics chapters.

14 V.    Evaluation /3   As evaluation for most Bioethics sessions, the students are asked to submit written responses and reflection pieces on the Bioethics materials they took up in class. The written responses, whether as homework (done at home) or seatwork (done in class), are graded for compliance with requirements (e.g. list of risks and benefits), and noted for the students’ stand on the various bioethics topics.

15 V.    Evaluation /3   The views or position made by a student on a bioethics topic is not graded for the stance he takes, whether for or against. Rather, the position a student takes is graded on how well he justifies and explains his views on the matter, and on how well he integrates learned ethical principles into his stand. Also, the teacher does not penalize the student who takes an opposing stand that is contrary to tradition or to accepted norms. However, the teacher will try to clarify the controversial matter with the student.

16 V.    Evaluation /3   Another form of evaluation is when the teachers would adopt situations and topics in the Bioethics chapters for inclusion and use as examination questions. (Ex. in Long Tests: 50 points or more, and Periodical Examinations: at the end of the term)

17   VI.              Insights /2   As a rule and in practice, the teachers relate the Biology lessons to actual and real-life situations in order to make the technical and scientific aspects of Biology more student-friendly. Thus, the teachers find the Bioethics chapters very helpful and useful with their true-to-life, relevant and interesting situations and experiences. While the teachers appreciate the Bioethics chapters for their relevance and true-to-life character, the teachers are also grateful for the current and up-dated Biology information contained in the Bioethics chapters.

18 VI.               Insights /2   On the part of the students, they have verbalized their appreciation of Bioethics classes which have made Biology more “alive,” personal, relevant, enlightening and thought-provoking. The students relate well to the real-life situations presented to them. Some students also experience a little of soul-searching, inward-looking, and more in-depth analysis of issues.  

19 VII.       Recommendation   In appreciation of the relevance of the Bioethics project, the usefulness of its materials, and in recognition of the importance and value of tackling Bioethics concerns in Biology classes, the teaching of Bioethics can be mandated as an integral and formal part of the Biology curriculum of the Ateneo de Manila High School.

20 Thank You and Good Day!

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