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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: [email protected].
    • ©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.

References & Citations

1. Loike JD, Rush BS, Schweber A, Fischbach RL 2013 Lessons learned from undergraduate students in designing a science-based course in bioethics CBE Life Sci Educ 12 701 710 24297296 3846520
2. Mintzes JJ, Leonard H 2006 Handbook of college teaching National Science Teacher Association Press Arlington, VA
3. Quitadamo IJ, Kurtz MJ 2007 Learning to improve: using writing to increase critical thinking performance in general education biology CBE Life Sci. Educ. 6 2 140 154 10.1187/cbe.06-11-0203 17548876 1885902 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.06-11-0203
4. Roach M 2013 Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal W.W Norton & Company New York, NY
5. Schatzki SC 1993 Beaumont and St. Martin Am J Roentgenol 160 1176 10.2214/ajr.160.6.8498211 http://dx.doi.org/10.2214/ajr.160.6.8498211
6. Weimer M 28 August 2013 Prompts that get students to analyze, reflect, relate, and question Faculty Focus [Online.] http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/prompts-that-get-students-to-analyze-reflect-relate-and-question/

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2014-12-15
2019-11-22

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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