1887

A Modern Twist on the Beaumont and St. Martin Case: Encouraging Analysis and Discussion in the Bioethics Classroom with Reflective Writing and Concept Mapping

    Author: Carlos C. Goller1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Biotechnology Program, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 15 December 2014
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Jordan Hall 6119, Campus Box 7512, 2800 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695. Phone: 919-513-4135. Fax: 919-513-4231. E-mail: ccgoller@ncsu.edu.
    • ©2014 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 229-231. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.771
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    Abstract:

    Historical ethical dilemmas are a valuable tool in bioethics courses. However, garnering student interest in reading and discussing the assigned cases in the classroom can be challenging. In an effort to actively engage undergraduate and graduate students in an Ethical Issues in Biotechnology course, an activity was developed to encourage reflection on a classical ethical dilemma between a patient, St. Martin, and his employer/caretaker, Beaumont. Two different texts were used to analyze the ethical ramifications of this relationship: a chapter in a popular press book and a short perspective in a medical journal. Participants read the book chapter for homework and discussed it in class. This easy read highlights the fundamental ethical issues in the relationship between two men. Students were then provided with a second text focusing on the scientific accomplishments achieved through Beaumont’s experimentation on St. Martin. A structured worksheet prompted participants to reflect on their feelings after reading each text and create a concept map depicting the dilemma. Student-generated concept maps and written reflections indicate participants were able to list the ethical issues, analyze the situation, and evaluate the information provided. This activity not only encouraged higher-level thinking and reflection, it also mirrored the course’s structured approach of using concept mapping and reflection to dissect ethical dilemmas.

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References & Citations

1. Loike JD, Rush BS, Schweber A, Fischbach RL2013Lessons learned from undergraduate students in designing a science-based course in bioethicsCBE Life Sci Educ12701710242972963846520
2. Mintzes JJ, Leonard H2006Handbook of college teachingNational Science Teacher Association PressArlington, VA
3. Quitadamo IJ, Kurtz MJ2007Learning to improve: using writing to increase critical thinking performance in general education biologyCBE Life Sci. Educ.6214015410.1187/cbe.06-11-0203175488761885902 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.06-11-0203
4. Roach M2013Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canalW.W Norton & CompanyNew York, NY
5. Schatzki SC1993Beaumont and St. MartinAm J Roentgenol160117610.2214/ajr.160.6.8498211 http://dx.doi.org/10.2214/ajr.160.6.8498211
6. Weimer M28August2013Prompts that get students to analyze, reflect, relate, and questionFaculty Focus[Online.] http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/prompts-that-get-students-to-analyze-reflect-relate-and-question/
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.771
2014-12-15
2017-11-19

Abstract:

Historical ethical dilemmas are a valuable tool in bioethics courses. However, garnering student interest in reading and discussing the assigned cases in the classroom can be challenging. In an effort to actively engage undergraduate and graduate students in an Ethical Issues in Biotechnology course, an activity was developed to encourage reflection on a classical ethical dilemma between a patient, St. Martin, and his employer/caretaker, Beaumont. Two different texts were used to analyze the ethical ramifications of this relationship: a chapter in a popular press book and a short perspective in a medical journal. Participants read the book chapter for homework and discussed it in class. This easy read highlights the fundamental ethical issues in the relationship between two men. Students were then provided with a second text focusing on the scientific accomplishments achieved through Beaumont’s experimentation on St. Martin. A structured worksheet prompted participants to reflect on their feelings after reading each text and create a concept map depicting the dilemma. Student-generated concept maps and written reflections indicate participants were able to list the ethical issues, analyze the situation, and evaluate the information provided. This activity not only encouraged higher-level thinking and reflection, it also mirrored the course’s structured approach of using concept mapping and reflection to dissect ethical dilemmas.

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FIGURE 1.

Flowchart of Beaumont and St. Martin activity.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 229-231. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.771
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